A Night of Networking between Student Nurses and Unit Managers

November 16, 2017 • Written by

Mock interviews are like study sessions that build on student ability to perform well and boost student confidence during an interview. Preparing for job interviews can be nerve wracking and stress inducing. Mock interviews provided students with an opportunity to engage and network with individuals who would potentially interview them for future employment opportunities and become their future employer. This strategy has been effective in solidifying student knowledge of the interview process and reducing student anxiety.

The strength of RRC Nursing Department’s relationship with areas of nursing practice was evident in the number of unit managers who agreed to participate in the evening of mock interviews with RRC student nurses. Unit managers from all the hospitals in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and various health care facilities in Regional Health Authorities servicing various areas in rural Manitoba were present. The organizers received agreement and additional requests of patient care managers/unit managers to participate in the event that exceeded what the organizers could accommodate. Unfortunately, this resulted in the organizers having to deny some requests to participate in the event.

Lessons learned during and following the Evening of Mock Interviews and Networking between student nurses and unit managers included both benefits of participation and recommendations for future events. Both students and unit managers identified strengths of the event.

Benefits of Participation

Students identified the ability to meet with unit managers for areas of interest in a nonthreatening environment as a benefit. In addition, receiving immediate feedback from managers after students answered each interview question was beneficial. Some found the preparation information sufficient. Being in small groups was very beneficial and effective in building student confidence. Students identified that scenario questions were helpful. Based on a follow up survey, it was unanimous that student anxieties decreased when answering questions during their interviews for employment as grad nurses. One hundred percent of respondents identified that this event should continue for RRC BN students in the future.

Managers identified having the opportunity to collaborate and meet with potential future employees/nurses was invigorating and inspirational. Managers also identified experiencing professional and self-growth through their participation in the event. Speaking with students also provided them with an opportunity to hear student concerns and questions regarding the interview process, promote nursing and encourage new nurses, and reflect on their interview style and skills. They also stated that they were proud to participate in the student excitement and growth and discover how prepared and ready for the workforce RRC students were. As stated, “no questions stumped the students, they are ready to meet us in real life; well-done RRC.”


Given this was first time this type of event was hosted for RRC BN students, the planning committee was looking for recommendations from both students and facility managers. Students suggested the event occur earlier in their final term of the BN program. It was felt this would have increased student participation. Students also suggested additional preparatory materials such as an employment sheet from RRC Student Employment Services, increased information on the repository with reminders of date, time, and location of the event, along with an agenda for the evening. Managers also suggested increased preparatory materials including map of the campus parking area and room location. Managers recommended increased signage regarding parking and room location, as well as providing them with an agenda and suggesting that they bring business cards to distribute. They also suggested that seating arrangements replicate a panel interview situation, as well as lengthened duration of interviews. Students in their final year of their Bachelor of Nursing degree who participated were thankful for the opportunity to participate and freely shared the benefits they experienced from participating in the Evening of Mock Interviews. The evening concluded with comments from each of the unit managers. Each patient care manager commented on how well-prepared the students were and their desire to participate in similar events in the coming years.

The planning committee of Cindy Boughen, Krystal Boyce Gaudreau, Tracey Fallak, and Patrick Griffith are evaluating and utilizing the feedback provided by students and managers to improve the event in the coming year. Thank you to all those who participated.

Written by:

Evelyn Lundeen – Nursing Instructor

Blood Pressure Clinic

November 9, 2017 • Written by

A big thank you goes out to everyone who came out to support our first year nursing students with their Blood Pressure Clinic.  It is greatly appreciated from all staff and students!

It’s a great opportunity for students to practice their skills, not only performing the skill of blood pressures, but interacting with patients too.

Watch for our posters and the Staff News for future dates!



Written and photos taken by Jennifer Johnson; Nursing Lab Manager




Halloween 2017

November 2, 2017 • Written by

Third year nursing students in clinical practice child health were able to have a spooktacular good time celebrating with their boo-tiful costumes. Witching you all a Happy Halloween!

Written by Monica Nash – Nursing Instructor

*Click on a photo to enlarge it, and check out our students’ great costumes!

Good Luck in the International Nursing Skills Competition!

November 1, 2017 • Written by

Please take the time to wish our team that are going to China for the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences International Nursing Skills Competition good luck & safe travels! The team is leaving next Tuesday, November 7th.

The team representing our Nursing Department, and pictured here, are:

Myrna Davis – Lead Instructor
Rachel Rubin – RRC – Year Three Nursing Student
Elyse Griffith – RRC – Year Two Nursing Student

Additionally, we have two other special people to acknowledge who committed time and effort in getting the team prepared:

Sandy Alguire – Instructor
Chris Hofer – Year Two Nursing Student

All members of the team have committed many extra hours in preparation, and we are proud of them.

Watch the blog for upcoming stories and pictures!

Written by Alison Fyfe-Carlson – Nursing Instructor

Health Promotion Poster Fair

October 26, 2017 • Written by

Health promotion is important for the health of all Canadians. An overwhelming majority of health care dollars (more than 95%) is spent on treating illness once it has occurred; however, the effects of illness go beyond the monetary expenses needed to treat. Indirect costs related to disability, inability to contribute to the workforce and economy, caregiver burden, and other psychological and social factors pose a burden on the health of Canadians. It is therefore crucial to prevent and screen for illness as early as possible.

Health promotion ensures the entire Canadian population has the capacity to lead full and productive lives and contribute to a healthy society. With that goal in mind, third year Nursing students from Epidemiology and Illness Prevention put on a Health Promotion Poster Fair to raise awareness about preventable public health issues.

The Health Promotion Poster Fair is one component of a group project that focuses on developing a Public Health Education Strategy. Students apply theory and concepts learned in their course to identify a preventable public health issue, research it, and develop a public health education strategy (i.e. poster and a pamphlet) for their target population, which is the staff and students of Red River College. The focus of the education strategy is to promote health by helping people identify risk factors and take measures to prevent illness either before a disease begins (primary prevention) or in its early stages, through screening (secondary prevention).

Students select their own topics related to preventable health issues in the realm of public health, including topics related to communicable diseases, vaccine-preventable illnesses, preventable chronic diseases, sexually transmitted infections, and injuries. Once a topic is chosen, students follow detailed assignment guidelines under the guidance of a “project mentor” who assists and advises throughout and oversees the project from start to finish. Instructors Ana Stipanovic and Winona Burgess act as project mentors, providing leadership and experience to guide students in creating high quality finished products.

The Health Promotion Poster Fair gives students an opportunity not only to research the topic and identify public health needs, but to also practice working with their colleagues (other students and instructors), as well as liaising with public and private health agencies to access information for their target audience. These skills prepare students to incorporate health promotion throughout their future careers. As nurses, they can continue to lead by example through their thoughts, words, and actions in order to make health promotion the focus of each encounter with patients, families, communities, and populations. As leaders, they can advocate for change in health policy by participating in interest groups, boards or committees, and government in order to ensure that principles of social justice and health equity are upheld.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to support our students’ learning as they support all of us through their health promotion efforts.

Written by Ana Stipanovic (Nursing Instructor) and Meagen Chorney (Nursing Instructor).

Photographs by Jennifer Johnson
(Nursing Lab Manager).

Nursing Expanding Simulation

October 19, 2017 • Written by

Meet Baby Lucas and our Toddler Samantha!

We hosted our first Pediatric SIM, which was a great success and fun for both staff and students.  Thank you to our patient Mom actors Allyson and Monica for their enthusiasm, and thank you to the instructors who helped make this day run so smoothly.

Students were brought to the lab for a day of SIM from their current clinical pediatric rotation.  Students participated in two scenarios that were geared to help expand their learning, assessment, and communication skills in difficult situations.  We hope they’ll take this experience with them throughout their careers as nurses!

Written by Jennifer Johnson

Nursing Lab Manager

Celebrating Excellence Luncheon 2017

October 12, 2017 • Written by


 Red River College Nursing Program Awards Presentation 2017

Congratulations To This Year’s Award Winners

Jean Burrows Scholarship  – Cassie OliverJean Burrows was the Nursing Deptartment Chair from 1974 to 1998 and, upon her retirement, this scholarship was created for a first year student recognizing their outstanding academic achievement.




Bernice Parrott Award – Bhavjot Khosa, Shelby Marks, and Candace Blahey: This award was established to provide financial assistance to a deserving student, after term six in the BN program, to recognize their hard work and efforts.

Nursing Students Endowment Scholarship – Natasha Kuchta, Britta Hoogervorst, Allison Kiziak, and Laura Byman: This award was established from students who, in 1997 as part of their tuition fees, contributed to this endowment fund.  In 2001, a portion of the money was dedicated to the creation of this award.  The class of 2002 also made a sizable contribution from their own fundraising efforts.

Nursing Legacy Award – Cassie Oliver, Michelle Queau, Jennifer Ruchkall, Bridget Burns, Heidi Doerksen, Alexa Fraser, Allison Kiziak, Dallas Peters-Wieler, and Laura Byman: This award recognizes outstanding clinical performance of students in years one to three. A student in nursing techniques 3 is also recognized for excelling in both their academic and skill performance.  This award was established by combining sources from the Stanton Family, the Duncan Family, and the Phyllis Aaron Family along with the Nursing faculty.

Thorey Johnson Nursing Award – Amy LaBrash, Stacey O’Hanley, and Maryna Navrotska: In honor of their mother, Mrs. Johnson’s daughters have established this scholarship for a nursing student who has expressed a special interest in rural nursing practice.

Nursing Leadership Award – Jodie Shepit and Paige Procter:
This award is for deserving students who have gone above and beyond in support and leadership of their peers. This award was established by the awards committee, with nominations from faculty and peers.

Discipline of Professional Nursing Award – Laura Girard, Natasha Kuchta, and Angela Simeonidis: This award is presented to students for their outstanding achievement in the courses of Discipline of Professional Nursing 1-5.


Mary Langhan Nursing Award – Brittany Clark: This award is  presented to a third year student who has demonstrated a high level of skill in the clinical setting and has expressed a special interest in obstetrics and gynecology.

Karla Ferens Memorial Entrance Award for Health Care Aide – Taylor Violet NaultThis award recipient has displayed the same accomplishments exhibited by Karla Ferens: involvement in sports and leadership qualities.  Karla was a 2011 RRC graduate of the HCA program.

Community Service Award – Tracy Clifton and Yael Gelfman: This award is presented to second and third year students who have volunteered for a community agency while maintaining sound academic achievement.

Karen Wall Indigenous Nursing Student AwardBrittany Chartrand: This award is presented to a third year student of Canadian Indigenous heritage who has achieved academic success in the BN program and has demonstrated leadership within the Indigenous community.

Kathleen Elizabeth Scaife Memorial Award – Aleli Carandang: This award is presented to a BPIEN (Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Nurses) student who demonstrated outstanding academic and clinical performance.






Written by Jennifer Johnson

Nursing Lab Manager


Where Are They Now – Amber Menzies

October 5, 2017 • Written by

Red River College Nursing student Amber Menzies graduated in 2011. She has since gone on to an exciting and meaningful career as a registered nurse (RN).

I began my nursing journey at St. Boniface Hospital where I had completed my senior practicum, cardiac sciences. I enjoyed my time there as I had fantastic educators and a great group of co-workers that were always there if you needed an extra hand. After having my first child, my husband and I decided we wanted to move closer to his family. We moved 4 hours away from Winnipeg. What I missed most? Restaurants and convenience of shopping any time I wanted!
I began working in the Shoal Lake ER as an RN. My first day I naively asked “what time does the unit clerk start?”, the answer was “you’re it”. I soon learned I would be the only RN each shift along with an LPN. It was very difficult at times as more hands make for lighter work as they say, but it was quite rewarding at times. While I was on maternity leave, the hospital ER closed and I had the opportunity to take a position as a Client Care Coordinator at another rural facility. I worked there for a year, but quickly learned that the position was not what I was looking for.

Last year I decided to take a position in Brandon Hospital on Single Room Maternity Care (SRMC). It is an hour commute, but I absolutely love it there. I continuously feel I am learning something new and love going in to work.

Amber also shares some advice for current and future students:

Life Balance: When I started working as a nurse, I was a newlywed ready to take on anything. I loved the quick pace of cardiac care. When I had my daughter and moved 4 hours out of the city, and was working full time, I felt I did not have a great life balance. I worked all week and rarely saw my 1 year old and 3 year old. I learned quickly that I was not happy with my “life balance” and sought out a way to improve it. I currently work a .5 EFT and get to see my girls grow up. It may change as they grow older, but was glad I found my balance.

Working Rural: I wish I had paid closer attention to what opportunity lies in working rural, as well as possibly drawbacks. In nursing school I figured I was a lifer in Winnipeg…then life happened! Working rural you can also seek out the rural municipality or town as they may help with those student loans.

—Amber Menzies, RN

Thank you Amber for sharing your story with us!

(posted by Meagen Chorney, BA MA, Nursing Instructor)

Meet RaeAnn Thibeault, our Dean, School of Health Sciences and Community Services

September 28, 2017 • Written by

At the end of our last school year (June 2017), I had the pleasure of sitting down with our new Dean and asking her a number of different questions – personal and professional. RaeAnn’s passion for both nursing and education are clearly evident in her answers. She is a woman of great leadership and vision, while remaining very down to earth and approachable. ENJOY!

1. How did you come to be a nurse; i.e. what made you decide to go into nursing?

It was a life-long dream since I was little. My mother had been a nurse; she was my role-model and always spoke fondly of it.

2. Where were you educated?

I completed my undergraduate (Nursing) and graduate studies here in Winnipeg, at the U of M.

3. Do you have any funny or poignant stories from your nursing education that you would be willing to share?

*Chuckles* Well there are many stories I could share – mostly from my years of living in the Nurses’ Residence at Misericordia Hospital. I lived with other nursing students (from Misericordia) and engaged in typical unhealthy student lifestyle habits …like unhealthy food choices, hours and hours of studying, and abiding by (or trying to abide by) evening curfews.

4. Where were you employed as a nurse?

I worked in Community Health and in Intensive Care. My first teaching position was at Misericordia. I also taught at U of M for 8 years, instructing and course leading. I was in nursing supervisory/managerial roles at the Canadian Red Cross and at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.

5. Why did you decide to come to Red River College?

I kept coming back to education – and I had the opportunity to join RRC in 1997 moving from Canadian Blood Services.

6. What positions have you held at the College prior to becoming our Dean?

In 1997 I took the role of Program Officer, Health Sciences for Continuing Education. From 2004-2014, Dean, School of Continuing Education. And then assumed the role of A/Vice President, Community Development from 2013-2016. Most recently I have served as A/Dean (and now present Dean – since Sept. 2017) of the School of Health Sciences & Community Services as well as Interim Dean, School of Indigenous Education.

7. What are some of the challenges in your new position as Dean?

Recognizing that there are 26 other programs in our school and needing to understand the world of other professions. I was already familiar with nursing but need to learn and gain understanding of their needs – learning how we can work together and learn together – looking at interdisciplinary curriculum.

8. What do you see as future challenges for nursing?

In education we need to move forward. Funding – we need to be cost-effective and efficient in our program while still responding to staff and student needs. Ie. look at clinical/practicum placements locally and globally.

9. What do you think the faculty at RRC can do to help with those challenges?

To be there and support students to be successful in preparing for today and tomorrow – the students respect and admire their faculty.

10. Anything else you would like to add?

In providing quality education we need to be very responsive to student needs – incorporating innovation and research, and evidence-based decision making… and also looking at how we can incorporate indigenous and global competence.

Thanks for the interview RaeAnn!

— Tanya Cole RN BScN, RRC Nursing Instructor

Celebrating Pinning Class of 2017

September 21, 2017 • Written by

Congratulations to all our graduates! We wish each and every one of you the very best in your new beginnings and wherever your path may take you!

Congratulations to Allison Kiziak who was our recipient for the ARNM Gold Medal Award for highest academic and clinical achievement!

Our Pinning Ceremony has great meaning; the pins mark transition from education and preparation into the profession of Nursing.

Thank you to all the supporters (families and friends) that helped our students through the rough patches and to the staff for being who you are and organizing a lovely Pinning Ceremony.

Written by: Jennifer Johnson LPN

Nursing Lab Manager