In the field of nursing research, informatics is changing the way we think about health care. UBC School of Nursing Associate Professor Leanne Currie’s research has long focused on the thoughtful application of information communication technologies in health care. The research she does supports patients and their families by improving access and ensuring they get the best care they can.
Among many of Leanne’s accomplishments in the field of nursing research has been her collaboration with Vancouver Coastal Health in areas of student practice education, clinical education and guidelines for treating Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side. “These projects have a clinical focus and practical applications,” says VCH Clinical Education Regional Manager Heather Straight. For example, the statistics prepared for the PLACES program has improved the coordination of nursing students’ clinical training programs within the Lower Mainland.
It’s hard to overstate the impact of Leanne’s research. Her grant funding record alone speaks for itself, as she is involved in over $2.2 million worth of research projects. Much of that comes from prestigious organizations such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Michael Smith Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and more. She presents her findings to international audiences and is routinely published in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals. To date, she has published 30 papers, often in collaboration with students she is supervising.
Effective collaboration, along with her clinical focus has often been the key to her success. “She takes the time to understand the challenges that are presented to her by clinicians, learning about practice issues, quality issues, morale issues or anything that impacts the clinical team she is involved with,” says VCH Executive Director of Clinical Education Barb Lawrie. “It gave her immediate credibility with our staff… She still checks in, engaging the right staff and leaders to double-check data and get the story behind the data, a habit that has been emulated by many who work with her.”
Even as Leanne continues to conduct research, she never loses sight of the need for her own professional development. “She began her career at VGH in 1986 with a diploma in nursing,” Lawrie notes. “She went on to complete her BSN and MSN in California and then obtained a PhD from Columbia University in New York City in 2004. Since then, she has followed up with many professional development opportunities — and her success comes from applying what she has learned to the work she does.”
In addition to her research work, Leanne is an enthusiastic and active mentor for graduate students interested in informatics applications in nursing and health care. “She mentors many of her graduate students to obtain funding for their own studies,” notes School of Nursing Professor Sally Thorne. “Thanks to her support, many of them have brought their Master’s program projects through to publications in scholarly journals. It’s a testament to her high level of scholarly involvement.”
A passionate and dedicated professional in all that she does, Leanne continues to produce valuable research and be a role model for the top nursing researchers to follow.