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Academic News

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

September 28, 2017

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