Health Sciences

Health Sciences

Community Involvement

Inspiring the Next Generation: Career Day at William Whyte School

June 16, 2022

For the past 4 years, Krystal Boyce-Gaudreau has taken part in Career Day at William Whyte School. She presents usually to Grade 7 / 8 students, many of whom come from the disadvantaged, core area households. With a personal connection to this school, as her sister also teaches there, Krystal feels deeply motivated to encourage students to pursue their dreams. Highlighting her career of nursing and a variety of nursing programs is one example of how she hopes to inspire students to pursue their passions and to let them know of supports available to them.

Meet Krystal: An RRC / U of M JBN grad of 2002, Krystal worked as an RN BN at Concordia Emergency until 2013, as well as completing her Masters of Nursing (U of M) in 2013. At this time, she began her career at RRC Polytech where she continued to share her passion and leadership in a variety of nursing instructor roles. Krystal has taught in courses from Pharmacology and Diagnostics to Health Assessment 1 and 2, Discipline 4, and most recently developed and taught an elective on Substance Use Disorders and Nursing Care. During the pandemic, she also helped to develop the Health Care Support Worker micro-credential course, taught vaccine administration, AND picked up shifts in vaccine clinics!

How does a nurse prepare for a Career Day presentation? Krystal developed a 1.5 hour presentation including a Powerpoint presentation, Q & A, and the students’ favourite part … experiential – where students can see/touch/use equipment borrowed from RRC Poloytech’s nursing lab (thanks to Jennifer Johnson). Krystal uses student volunteers to teach about CPR and AED machines using role plays with an adult mannequin torso.  Demonstrating how to take vitals using the oximeter and thermometers, listening to heart sounds with stethoscopes – these are always a big hit with the students.

Some of the main points that Krystal always shares:

1) Her own lived experience and struggles in school and how a great teacher in grade 6 believed in her and helped her. She encourages students to not to let things define or limit them… but to believe in themselves.

2) To educate students about what nurses DO and that we CARE about them. Also, that nurses are great people to seek out for help or support.

3) To encourage, support, and inspire students to dream about their careers and their future.

How do the students react? They are nervous and shy at first but then begin to open up and ask questions like: ”Have you ever seen someone die?…delivered a baby?…how hard was schooling? – how much did it cost? – how much do you make?!” They often want to share their own healthcare / hospital family experiences. The kids are also surprised by how much money nurses make AND they get really excited when listening to their own heartbeats and learning what the heart does.

A few final thoughts:

Feeling motivated to speak to a student or group of students? Maybe plant a seed or inspire a young mind to dream? A couple of tips: when doing a Career Day talk for students, make sure to have fun and ensure the information being shared is at the students’ level. Krystal shares that for her, “nursing is an awesome career with lots of opportunities for you to really pursue any passion and any direction!”

Written by Tanya Cole RN BScN, RRC Polytech Nursing Instructor

An Exceptional Experience Working With Agape Table

December 20, 2021

Experiencing the concept of ‘community as client’ does not always present itself. Our clinical group: Community and Older Adults, NRSG 2811, Oct 6-Nov 4, had such an opportunity.

The group health education topic was Food Security, as identified by the tenants and support staff at our site. As the students contacted agencies and services in the area for resources and information, a timely placed call to Dave Feniuk at Agape Table resulted in substantial food donation to the site. Two students arranged to pick up the items and prepared 30+ individual bags of fresh produce to distribute to those in need. Other items included frozen turkeys and trimmings for their Christmas dinner, as well as other frozen food items that the tenant association will oversee to provide ongoing food to those struggling with food security. They facilitated a partnership between Agape Table and the site for long-term support.

The students experienced, first hand, how partnerships and networking are necessary components of community health, to experience the Community Health Nurse role, realistically consider the social determinants of health as well as inspired volunteerism.

Mutual benefit is part of the ongoing partnership. Agape Table, a not-for-profit charity ‘Nourishing body, mind and spirit’ through daily bagged meals and an emergency food bank, relies on donations, volunteers, and sponsorships. We are happy to be part of the solution working with Agape Table.

Nursing students with just some of the donations from Agape Table for their site.
Students: Nate Abarca, Kaye Aguilar, Jasmeen Sohal, Stephanie Ross and Julie Dow
Nursing students with just some of the donations from Agape Table for their site.
Students: Nate Abarca, Kaye Aguilar, Jasmeen Sohal, Stephanie Ross, and Julie Dow

Written by Karen Janzen, Clinical Instructor


November 4, 2021


Student Christmas Holiday Hampers

From the Students’ Association:

We need your help!

The Students’ Association wants to help students and their families this Christmas holiday season. The SA is looking to collect non-perishable food items, and toys for their dependents (ages range from 1 to 18 years). A list of food items is available at 

Please drop off food and unwrapped toys to one of our offices (NDC – CM20 and EDC – P110) during business hours starting November 1st.

The SA is also collecting monetary donations through our website ( to provide grocery vouchers to our students.

We will be handing out hampers, toys, and vouchers to students in need in December. 

If you have any further questions, please contact Selina Anderson at 

Let’s work together to feed our Red River College Polytechnic Students that are struggling this Holiday Season.


The Students’ Association

  • Post Created by Jennifer JohnsonNursing Lab Manager
  • Content from The Students’ Association promotional material

Troy Gutowski, Year 3 Nursing Student Gets Drafted to the National Lacrosse League

September 16, 2021

Troy Gutowski
Troy Gutowski
Photo Credit: Darcy Finley and the Canadian Lacrosse League

The Nursing Department would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Troy Gutowski, a year 3 Nursing Student, on being drafted to the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). For those less familiar with the Canadian national summer sport of lacrosse, the NLL is the professional equivalent of the National Hockey League (NHL). It is comprised of 15 teams across Canada and the US.

Troy began playing box lacrosse when he was 9 years of age. He is considered a strong offensive playmaker, leading the Canada West team in overall points in the 2021 IIJL World Junior Lacrosse Championship this summer. Troy was also the overall tournament leader for assists – racking up 10 assists over the course of 3 games. When asked what it is he loves most about the sport, he replied “how fast the game is, the quick decision-making and reaction time it requires. I also love it for the friendships and relationships I’ve made over the years.”

Way to go Troy, and all the best in reaching all of your career goals – within and outside of nursing!

Fun fact: Wayne Gretzky, who also grew up playing lacrosse, is one of the owners of the 15th and newest team (Las Vegas) to be included in the NLL.

Post written by Tammy Neufeld – Nursing Instructor

Help Feed a Student this Holiday Season!

November 12, 2020

This year, because of COVID-19, instead of supporting one large family with food and gifts, the Students’ Association is purchasing and distributing food vouchers to RRC students in need. Your support is even more important at this time, as they expect an increase in hamper needs.

The Christmas hamper program helped more than 100 students and their families last year thanks to the generous staff and departments at RRC. Our goal again this year is to provide as many students in need with hamper food vouchers.

Please consider making a financial donation to the Students’ Association to help support our students in need this holiday season. With everything going on, everyone, especially our students, need our support and love now more than ever!

Online donations can be made at

If you have any trouble or questions, please reach out to Jennifer Johnson ( or Meagen Chorney (, and we’ll be more than happy to help you contribute this year.

Let’s make this year just as great as our past years for our students in need!

Written by:

Jennifer Johnson – Nursing Lab Manager

Adapted from the RRC Students’ Association (

Images from Pixabay:
Polar Bear

Canadian Nursing Students’ Association Nursing Students’ Week

January 9, 2020

The Nursing Students’ Association at Red River College hosted a Nursing Students’ Week. It is a CNSA (Canadian Nursing Students’ Association) initiative, which was celebrated across Canada during the week of November 18th-22nd, 2019.

Our students were away from the College that week so we moved the dates to December 16th-20th, 2019. We started off by hosting a Paint Night led by Amber Van Ma’iingan from Painting on the Prairies. The event was fully covered by the Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative, and organized by Breanna Sawatzky Mental Health Coordinator and one of our NSA members Marlo Pereira- Edwards.

Monday was the start of our nursing positivity wall, which was proudly displayed in the library hallway for all students to add to throughout the week. Red River College nursing students also ran a donation drive and collected everyday items based on the needs of Willow Place this holiday season. Willow Place is a non-profit organization in Winnipeg that helps women and children experiencing family violence and provides them with support and emergency shelter.

With the student’s generosity, we were able to fill up 3 boxes full of various items. The donations included daily care items such as shampoo, toothbrushes, a hair dryer and hair straightener; a lot of craft and activity items such as coloring books, pencils, glue-sticks, scissors and children’s books; and lastly non-perishable food items.

Tuesday we started making holiday cards for pediatric patients; we delivered 40 cards to different units at the Children’s Hospital.

Wednesday we had a relaxing lunch of eating baked goods and making reindeer ornaments; over 40 were made!!

Thursday we hosted self care making kits, which included chocolate, mints, hair ties, playdough, pencils and pens, David’s tea sachets and other items.

Friday we invited all students and staff to wear ugly sweaters and took a group picture and later celebrated the end of the week with a DIY hot chocolate bar!

We had a great turn out to all the planned events and hope to be able to plan more fun events throughout the new year of 2020!!

Post by Kristen McGregor and Samantha Siedlik – Student Nurses

Photos by the RRC Nursing Students’ Association

Christmas Hamper

December 5, 2019

Every year, the Nursing Department shows their holiday cheer by sponsoring a Christmas Hamper for a RRC student and their family. Through donations of food and presents, the department helps to make the holiday season a little merrier for a family in need.

Thank you to the Nursing Department for all your donations for our RRC Student Association Christmas Hamper this year!

Post written by Meagen Chorney – Nursing Instructor

Photo taken from

Service-Learning as a Pedagogical Tool

November 21, 2019

Taking the learning out of the classroom and out of our control is scary, but I can tell you from experience that it is worth it.

Over the past two years, I integrated the College’s Step Out of Your Box (SOYB) program into my Gender Studies for Health Professionals course for the Nursing department. SOYB helps students explore a dimension of diversity different from their own. The program uses service-learning as a pedagogical tool, taking students out of the classroom and into the real world. Students complete 7 hours of volunteer time at a community organization of their choice, coordinate with the organization to plan a leave-behind project, and then write a reflection on their experience. What better way to connect students with course material than to have them experience it first-hand, give something back, and reflect on it all? As a bonus, students can submit their reflections to be eligible for four $500 awards.

Although the prospect of including service-learning into my course was unfamiliar and somewhat intimidating, implementation was surprisingly easy. I worked with the RRC mentorship coordinator to implement the program as an alternate assignment to a paper within the constraints of a 12-week term. We also adapted SOYB to the objectives of the course by stipulating that the dimension of diversity had to connect with gender and including a couple nursing-specific reflection questions. I then created an assignment guideline and a rubric to evaluate the program requirements and depth of reflection. The mentorship coordinator joined my class on day 1 to introduce SOYB, at which point I turned control of the learning experience over to the students, under her guidance. Implementing SOYB did not add to my workload. With the initial materials in place, it allowed me to focus on other course objectives while the students focused on developing their power skills and cultural competence.

With its self-directed nature, service-learning is shown to increase self-efficacy and responsibility as well as elevate student success. Students were not only learning about the communities they were volunteering with; they were also learning about themselves. What better way for a student to face their fears in an ever-changing world? What better way for students to check their own privilege? As an instructor, I can give my students readings, lectures, and discussions. With the help of SOYB, I can also give my students that ‘a-ha’ moment when theory comes to life. As one student put it, “I finished this experience not learning what I wanted but learning what I needed.”

The College-wide learning outcomes emphasize that community engagement is crucial to the learning process, and students must be able to collaborate and work in a growingly diverse country. Learning about diversity can often be difficult, though. The theoretical can stereotype and generalize. Lectures, class discussions, and guest speakers are incredibly useful, but often being surrounded by or exposed to diversity does not mean that we internalize it or appreciate it. Through SOYB, students are meeting individuals different from themselves, face to face, in their environment. They are talking to and learning from individuals that they might never have otherwise interacted with. They get to humanize someone even if they don’t understand or agree with them. Service-learning has been shown to increase empathy and cultural competence. Students can collaborate with community organizations toward social inclusion, social justice, and building a better future, while also meeting the College values of learning, respect, inclusiveness, integrity, and service to community.

The first term that I offered SOYB as an alternate assignment, most of the students chose it. Since then, every single student has chosen service-learning over writing a paper. From the growing popularity of the program and the comments in their reflections, students see the value of this experience. For me, it has been a shift in my perspective of my role as an instructor. I had to let go of control over what and how exactly a student will learn.

As instructors, we’re constantly looking for new and innovative ways to get our content across to students. SOYB won’t replace course content, but it will reinforce it. It is experientially robust and employer relevant. Our students are diverse and their future employers, coworkers, and clients are diverse. Whether as an alternate assignment or a small portion of work placement focused on social responsibility, the Step Out of Your Box program is a rewarding addition to any course.


To find out how to integrate SOYB into your course, contact the mentorship coordinator, Vera Godavari, at or visit

For more on the experience of using SOYB as an alternate course assignment, contact Meagen Chorney at


Interested in taking part in the Step Out of Your Box program?

It’s open to all students even if you’re not in a course integrating it. Contact Vera at or visit to sign up today.

Post written by Meagen Chorney – Nursing Instructor
and Vera Godavari – Mentorship Coordinator

2nd Year Nursing Students at Lighthouse Mission

October 3, 2019

L-R: Casey, Ana, Mallory, Pooya, Lyn, Tonya, and Ashley – with Beverly (Operations Manager)

Every five weeks a new group of nursing students begin their Older Adult Community Clinical rotation. Students participated in a number of clinical activities from holding public education events, to running blood pressure clinics, to collaborating with community partners like Lighthouse Mission. Last Thursday we had the opportunity to learn about and address a few social determinants of health – including homelessness and poverty.

This group of caring students also chose to bring some emergency food hamper items that were desperately needed. We then made our way to the kitchen and “floor” to serve some hearty soup and sandwiches… and take blood pressures! Students recognized the power of eye-contact and smiles as powerful nursing skills to use with a population of people who often go ignored or unnoticed.

Beverly shared more pictures from that afternoon on the Lighthouse Mission Facebook page.

Post written by Tanya Cole RN BScN – RRC Clinical Nursing Instructor