“Will this be on the Exam?”: Why Doing Research Matters in the Real World Too

“Will this be on the Exam?”: Why Doing Research Matters in the Real World Too

Submitted on behalf of Taylor Merkley.

A lot of students detest writing research papers. For some, it’s an unpleasant but necessary task, like scrubbing the toilet or taking out the trash. Some students simply don’t see the value in writing research papers at all. After all, why would anyone waste their time sifting through stuffy academic journals and confusing online databases for answers to questions that have no practical basis in reality?

That’s what some people say when I tell them about the research that I did for a communications course in my fourth year of university. “You studied prime ministers’ speeches?” some people scoff. “But why? Isn’t that boring? What can you possibly get out of that?”

The surprising answer is – a lot, actually.

Not that it was all fun. I wouldn’t describe combing through eight months’ worth of transcripts from Prime Ministerial bridge naming ceremonies, budget announcements, and campaign speeches fun, exactly. But the tedious work of analyzing and coding the 59 speeches delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2015 not only yielded some fascinating results, but also led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a trip halfway around the world to present my findings at an international research conference in Athens, Greece.

I never thought that prime minister speeches would be something I’d be interested in. Does anybody actually even listen to those? I wondered at first. Who cares? What does it matter?

But the more I learned about it, the more I saw how significant something as mundane as a bridge naming ceremony can be. Words spoken by powerful people are powerful: words distribute power, they articulate it, and they take it away. And the closer I looked at the speeches, the more I could see patterns beginning to emerge. I felt, for the first time, the excitement that only a researcher can feel – the thrill of discovery.

The paper’s first draft earned a humble A-minus from the course, but my co-authors and I recognized that the project was an opportunity to shed light on an issue that was important to us. We continued to work on the paper over the summer break, and upon our return to school in the fall, we had written a new draft; around forty typed pages that were the product of countless hours of blood, sweat, and (sometimes literally) tears.

Three-quarters of the Prime Minister Speeches research team, post-presentation at the ATINER Research Conference in Athens, Greece. From left to right: Scott Archer, Jamie Malbeuf, & Taylor Merkley (missing from the photo: Amanda Seymour-Skinner, who missed the conference to attend law school in Australia); May 9, 2017.

With the enormously appreciated help of a couple of supportive faculty members, we submitted the paper to the ATINER Conference in Greece and – to our great surprise and excitement – it was accepted. We received funding from the university to attend the overseas conference, and spent an unforgettable week in Athens. We met scholars from Brazil, Israel, Slovenia, Australia, and countless other places. We presented our paper and attended the presentations of others; we participated in round table discussions about the emergence of “fake news,” about the effect of feminine iconography in political upheavals, about popular representations of conflict in the Middle East, and a number of other equally fascinating topics. We cruised the Greek islands of Paros, Aegina, and Hydra; enjoyed a cultural evening of traditional Greek music and dance; and networked with PhD candidates and university professors from around the world.

Now that the trip is over, my research team and I have submitted the paper for publication in an academic journal. If it is accepted, it will mean another round of gruelling edits and rewrites and deletions and additions, but it will also mean the opportunity to share what we have learned with a larger audience and maybe even improve our community. Our research journey is only just beginning.

Even if this incredible opportunity had not been given to me, I would still insist to students that research is meaningful and “worth it.” I learned so much, not just about content analysis and coding categories and the mechanics of political rhetoric, but about myself and my own capabilities and passions. Research is a tedious chore only if you choose to make it that way. But if you decide that you will use research as a way to better yourself or your community or society at large, and if you push through and overcome the tedium and frustration and dead ends and all the rest of it, you may just surprise yourself at what you can do – and at what opportunities might await you.

Until Next Time!

Until Next Time!

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott’s epic adventure to Australia continues at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Let’s see what Teresa, Sheila and of course, GPRC Wolves mascot Farley were up to for the rest of this week.

During their journey Teresa and Sheila had the chance to visit Glenallen Specialist School, which focuses on helping children with physical disabilities and health impairments. The school had about 157 students and 117 staff from a variety of disciplines, including nursing and is one of the clinical sites where nursing students can get work experience.

They have all sorts of health professionals working together to provide holistic care: physical therapy, speech therapy, a nurse, music and art; learning how to cook. They have almost a 1:1 staff ratio which work with children from pre-school to vocational learning (VLC). This is a clinical placement for Holmesglen students.  A warm and welcoming place.

Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu has fun showing off the playground equipment at Glenallen Specialist School.

The next stop on the journey was to Epworth Healthcare, a private not for profit hospital where Holmesglen students can gain workplace experience. All profit made by this hospital goes back into the hospital, so as a result they have lots of great educational and patient focused technology.

Tess Vawser Director, Clinical Education and simulation at Epworth HealthCare took the ladies on a tour of the premises. In the bright room with the OR lights (surgical lights), they have simulation equipment worth over 1 million dollars.

The device breathes in oxygen, breathes out carbon dioxide and can be used by anesthetists to practice their skills.

 

 

 

 

The screens are in every patient room and is where the patient can watch TV, order room service at any time of the day or night. The patient can look at the goals for their care, review educational information about whatever they are in the hospital for, and see how they are progressing.

This knee is where surgeons can practice performing knee surgeries, and it’s very much like the real thing!

Students learn a great deal at this beautiful hospital, there is a library/learning space for students and groups to get together. There is lots of open space to move around, computers, books, and a librarian.

 

That brings us to the end of Teresa and Sheila’s Australian adventure. Special thanks to Holmesglen Private Hospital, Holmesglen Institute, Glenallen Specialist School and Epworth Healthcare for their hospitality and expertise.

Thanks again to Andree Gamble, Bob Ribbons and Gabrielle Koutoukidis, Dean, Faculty of Health Science, Youth & Community Studies, and everyone else being so welcoming and showing Teresa and Sheila around.

We look forward to being hosts for Holmesglen staff when they come to visit the GPRC later this fall.

 

 

Australia Adventures Continue!

Australia Adventures Continue!

Sheila and Teresa with Leone English, Executive Director; Education and Applied Research at Holmesglen Institute.

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott’s epic adventure to Australia continues at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Along with their trusty side-kick Farley, GPRC Wolves mascot what tales can be told about their journey so far?

Teresa and Sheila had the opportunity to meet Leone English, Executive Director; Education and Applied Research at Holmesglen Institute. She helped to establish the current partnership between GPRC and Holmesglen Institute, allowing for this collaborative experience to take place.

Later the ladies got to participate in a Holmesglen “Research Rap”, which occurs three to four times per year. The Faculty of Health Science, Youth and Community Studies meet to discuss research ideas. They share research in progress and present what research they have already completed.

It’s a great place to share ideas and create connections with other departments, sharing information about upcoming scholarships and grant opportunities, as well as conferences they’re presenting at.

The nursing faculty that presented discussed their research called “The investigation of student experiences using game based response systems” such as Kahoot (which GPRC Nursing uses as a teaching strategy).

Kahoot allows smartphones to act as buttons for a custom multiple choice quiz (that you design). Compete against friends and family by earning the most points!

 

 

Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu (to the left) presented an idea about the “use of poetry in engaging students in reflection and readiness to practice”. The poetry the students presented was very powerful and showed a great deal about what they have learned about the nursing profession so far.

 

A lovely poem describing the art of nursing and its impact on the world around us.
Holmesglen Instructor, Thili Chengodu gives Farley a big hug.

While at Holmesglen Institute, students have the opportunity to take part in a simulation with standardized patients that were KIDS! These were 1st year nursing students, and both the kids and students had a blast!

The focus of the simulation labs was primarily communication and this experience gave them an opportunity to interact with children of different ages, to engage with them in play and gather information that might be helpful in a health assessment.

Students practiced with different age groups to see what some of the developmental differences might be.

The simulation apartments are composed of a sitting/viewing area, there is a place in the middle where the actual simulation takes place, and the control room at the back. The people in the simulation area cannot see or hear the people observing them, but microphones and cameras make it easy for the observers to hear and see what they’re doing.

The students watch the others, and after the simulation is complete, they all get together to debrief. To discuss what happened and what they can learn from the experience.

 

Definitely one of the cutest actors I’ve seen in a nursing lab and Farley agrees too!

Tune in next time to see what Teresa and Sheila got to witness on their trip down under.

GPRC’s Australian Adventure Continues

Greetings from Australia!

Sheila and Teresa with Keryn Hopkins, General Manager of Holmesglen Private Hospital, Penny Byers-Tymms, Director of Nursing, Petrina Adams, Deputy General Manager, Debra Kiegaldie, Clinical Chair -Health Workforce and Simulation for Holmesglen Institute and Healthscope Hospitals and Bob Ribbons, UGC Student Experience.

GPRC Nursing Instructors, Teresa Evans and Sheila Elliott had an awesome first week at Holmesglen Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Teresa and Sheila were selected to head down under for the month of May as part of a faculty exchange and research opportunity. Both post-secondary institutions have strong relationships with their regional hospitals and are hoping to learn a thing or two from each other on how to continue to grow those relationships and student opportunities. Learn more about the opportunity here.

Let’s see what Teresa, Sheila and of course, GPRC Wolves mascot Farley were up to for the rest of this week.

They got to watch some OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) testing, which is super similar to work done in the nursing classrooms at GPRC. These labs test nursing skills to make sure students are ready for their clinical experience. Stations included: respiratory assessment, priming and IV line, IM (Intramuscular) injection, handover report, and a CPR station.

Holmesglen OSCE Instructor, Jasmine with Mich, a standardized patient. Holmesglen uses a lot of standardized patients in their simulations, labs, and OSCEs to help students get a more “real life” experience.
Farley making friends with the CPR dummy.

FUN FACT: These three students pictured below are showing the colors of Holmesglen. Well what does that mean you ask? Students in the Bachelor of Nursing program wear teal and students in the Diploma Nursing program wear grey.

Holmesglen Nursing students Elisha, Michelle and Corey showing off the different Holmesglen colours with Farley!

That’s not all, Teresa, Sheila and Farley got to hang out with a first year group of students in their lab covering reflexes, sensory physiology and the brain.

Holmesglen Instructor John teaching first year Nursing students in the science lab.
Students in their lab covering reflexes, sensory physiology and the brain.
Catherine drawing up an IM injection with Instructor Jasmine.
Sanjini giving a shift report to her Instructor Sarah as part of the OSCE.

What’s even more fun is that Teresa and Sheila got to celebrate National Nursing Week with all the wonderful staff at the Holmesglen Institute and Hospital.

Happy National Nurses Week!

 

Alright, that’s all for now. We can’t wait to see what Teresa, Sheila and Farley are up to next on their Australian adventure. If you missed the first part of their adventure, you can find it here!

Check back for more updates on what Teresa and Sheila are up to during their visit to the “land down under”!

Don’t worry! Farley is A-OK and can hardly wait for the next part of their adventure!

 

 

 

From the Classroom to the Workforce

From the Classroom to the Workforce

GPRC Continuing Education would like to welcome recent GPRC Alumni, Jared Matlock to their team!

Check out Jared’s story and what he’s most looking forward to during this summer position at the college!

My name is Jared Matlock and I am honoured I was asked to write this for the Ambassador Blog.

I grew up on a small farm just north of DeBolt, Alberta. I attribute my easy going attitude to the country style upbringing I was lucky enough to experience.

I graduated from Ridgevalley School with eight other graduates. So as you can see, I come from humble places. I decided to proceed straight into college after high school. However, I ended up spending a few weeks in hospital at the end of August and into September. This stay forced me to postpone my college career until the next fall. I had started a small kayak rental business the summer of 2014 and I knew that I enjoyed being an entrepreneur but that I needed some additional education in certain areas.

In the fall of 2015, my college experience officially started. I enrolled in the Business Administration Program at GPRC and from then on I knew I belonged in business.

After my first year was complete, I noticed I gravitated towards marketing and so I decided to attend GPRC once again and earn a Business Administration Marketing Diploma.

Throughout this past year that is exactly what I have done. This past year has taught me extremely vital skills in marketing, and allowed those skills to become second nature to me. One of the most intriguing classes this year was BA 2010 – Advertising and Sales Promotion. This class was taught by Charles Backman, and in the first week of classes, he introduced one major project for the class. It was to develop and present a marketing communications plan for a hypothetical business conference.

Right away I was interested and then Charles mentioned GPRC Continuing Education (CE) would be potentially hiring two summer students at the end of the semester to continue to market CE and its many summer programs.

This statement intrigued me even more and from then on I focused much of my time brainstorming and preparing for the final presentation.

The final presentation came and went and overall our group felt very confident. I also felt fairly confident that I may be a contender for the available summer student, Marketing Assistant position. This confidence helped me secure the job and I started May 1st, 2017.

This first week or so has been a bit overwhelming but also eye-opening for myself. I am learning a great deal about time management and I am getting to think outside of the box which I love doing. I will be marketing Continuing Educations many programs including H2S Alive, Confined Space courses, and kid’s summer camps. I am excited to bring in my previous knowledge with videography and film editing to the table as well.

Being hired straight out of a college class has really given me the confidence to continue to achieve whatever I set my mind to and also let other students know of the incredible opportunities GPRC has to offer. I am extremely excited for this opportunity and GPRC continues to impress me with its opportunities for students and its involvement with the community of Grande Prairie.