Transforming the health landscape in northern communities: Shared leadership for innovation in nursing education

Lois Berry, Lorna Butler, Amy Wright


People living in northern areas throughout the world experience poorer health status than their southern neighbours. Accessibility to health care services and availability of health care professionals play a role in the building of health capacity in northern regions. The College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan developed a principled approach to the creation of an indigenous nursing workforce in Northern Saskatchewan. This approach builds on Williams’ concept of Therapeutic Landscapes, which recognizes the connectedness among environment, social interaction, and symbolic meaning within a population, and offers a way to analyze the influence of the contextual factors of place on health, and values and attitudes on well-being. In order to succeed, the College developed mutually beneficial, capacity-building relationships with northern communities, finding local champions to assist them. They reorganized their administrative structure to give visibility to their northern relationships, and built a distributive learning approach based on the commitment to “learn where you live”. Measuring the success of such approaches requires the development of new and innovative evaluation strategies, beyond the usual markers of individual student success. It requires approaches that capture the impact of such education programming on the fabric of the community as a whole.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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