Health Sciences


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

The Power of Connectivity with Community Older Adults & Community Resources

September 9, 2021

As we get settled into this new academic year, let’s continue to look back at some amazing student work from last year:

The Health Promotion of Older Adults in Community Clinical has had another rewarding and unique rotation during the pandemic. From March 24 – June 3rd, 2021, through a blended approach, groups connected with community resources in the Silver Heights and Fort Garry neighbourhoods. This experience is empowering to all as the students obtain a glimpse of what it is to be a community nurse and learn from older adults as they strive to promote health and wellness.

Through phone calls and socially distanced visits, these 2 dedicated groups met with community resources teams such as the Healthy Aging Resource team (HART) and the Community Resources Finders to reveal the impact of the pandemic on emotional wellness leading to social isolation. Students were able to recognize the importance of these resources and help facilitate how to navigate our health system. The students discovered how the determinants of health impact the older adult community.

As seen in the photos, student nurse groups collaborated with clients and on-site staff during blood pressure clinics, and prioritized the need for educational sessions. The Fort Garry community area recognized a need for a broader wellness fair, focusing on brain health, nutrition, and exercise. The group split into smaller groups and created poster boards and a drop-in wellness fair, where screening was completed and all COVID protocols were adhered to.

In Silver Heights, students presented on brain and memory wellness to an older adult community group that meets weekly via the building recording studio. This was then broadcasted and recorded for all the residents in the building. The group created a booklet to give to the residents prior to the broadcasting, so they could follow along. This is a fantastic example of RRC students harnessing innovation and technology to facilitate safe connections and learning.

These initiatives resulted in engaged older adults where they shared their own experiences during the blood pressure screening clinics and welcomed the students into their homes. The students were able to recognize the incredible resilience of each older adult as they manage multiple health issues, the effects of social isolation on mental health, and learning new ways to connect within their own community.

Group A

Group B


The students’ hard work was very well received, as evidenced by this Note of Thanks:

We just wanted to touch base and thank you all. We appreciate the faculty, support staff and students for their untold sacrifices and commitment to serving our community, in THE MOST challenging of times.

The staff, students and Board of Directors at The Rotary Villa are so grateful for your continued support. Kudos to all the students who did their placements with us. Your hard work and courage truly inspires us. Plus the fact that you showed up during a global health crisis speaks volumes about your character & commitment to your craft.

2021 is the International Year of the Health Care Worker and we are so very proud of all of you & wish you every success in your future endeavours. Thanks again for showing up & holding space for our residents. It really was a great comfort to have you here with us.

Warmest Regards,
The Rotary Crew

Blog post written and photos provided by Teri-Lyn Healy – Nursing Instructor

Nursing Clinical: Elmwood, East Kildonan Active Living Centre, February 2021

September 2, 2021

As we embark on a new academic year, let’s look back on some of the amazing student work from last year:

Screenshot of Opening Slide of Photo Essay

February 2021 was a challenging time in Winnipeg Manitoba for all, with the public health restrictions, so as a part of their Health Promotion of the Older Adult Community Health rotation, the Red River College nursing students set out, in collaboration with the Elmwood, EK Active Living Seniors Centre to do a project that was creative and highlighted the community strengths and resources. They sought to see the beauty in the community and convey it through a brief video compilation posted to the centre’s Elmwood EK Active Living Seniors Centre Facebook page. Its goal was to create motivation and hope through a creative look at a community and promote the positive initiatives that the community is engaged in.

Although they weren’t able to meet in person, students talked with many program coordinators and community leaders to find out priorities for wellness among older adults in the Elmwood, Chalmers, and greater River East area. One consideration noted was that many essential services are changing to virtual, and this makes internet access even more fundamental for social connectedness and for access to health and government services. The student group wrote a letter to the area’s MP advocating for affordable internet access to highlight this need.

Here are a few student excerpts on the unique experience:

“Working on the community photo essay and hearing about the community organizations brought out the personality of the community and showcased what a wholesome, well rounded and quaint area the Elmwood/Chalmers area really is. I wouldn’t hesitate to live there.” – Andrea Jungwirth

“I found making the photo essay useful because it taught us to come out of our comfort zone and communicate as a group in a unique circumstance and adapt to changes.” – Niloufar Bagherzamani

“It was valuable to view a community through a nursing lens and discover its strengths and resources in places I hadn’t seen previously.” – Kezia Balzer

“The photo essay allowed us to use the community assessment tools from the theory course. Using the nursing process helped to evaluate the need for affordable internet services and advocate for those populations by writing a letter to the MP.” – Nicole Martens

Blog post written by Tracey McCulloch – Nursing Instructor

Nursing Instructor Chinyere Asagwara Wins Nursing Excellence Award

May 27, 2021

The Nursing Department would like to congratulate clinical instructor Chinyere (Chichi) Asagwara on winning a Nursing Excellence Award! This award is provided by the Nursing Week Awards Committee at Health Sciences Centre.

Chinyere was nominated by her peers Krista Carlson, Kathy Collis and Karen Oke in Adult Emergency and endorsed by her manager Jacqueline Molina.

The Nursing Excellence Awards Committee writes:

You are deserving of this award because you have exhibited traits of a true leader, mentor, and strong patient advocate. You lift the morale and spirits of every staff member in the emergency department. You have contributed to quality improvement by participating in a LEAN project for the new Low Acuity Area and are a member of the Adult Emergency Nursing practice committee and previously the Code Blue committee. You are an instructor in the SIM lab working with residents and staff and use this opportunity to provide education to other staff within the department. You also participate with Canadian Military Search and Rescue teams in coaching and facilitating their learning opportunities at the bedside. In addition, you hold active membership with the National Emergency Nurse Association and were an integral team member in planning of the National conference in 2020.

Your peers’ state, “Through the ups and downs inherent in an emergency department, with staffing shortages, overcrowding, trauma and crisis, Chinyere has proven to be a rock-solid backbone of this department. She is unfaltering in her calm and determined approach during the chaos that can present from the triage desk to resus room.”

Due to COVID-19, Chinyere will be honored at the annual Nursing Excellence Awards Ceremony when it is able to safely resume.

Congratulations Chinyere!

Post written by Meagen Chorney – Nursing Instructor

Adapted and quoted from:
Lamonica, B., & Brennan, B. (2021). Recipient letter. Nursing Excellence Awards Committee.

The Power of Connectivity with Community Older Adults & Community Resources

April 1, 2021

The Health Promotion of Older Adults in Community Clinical has had another rewarding and unique rotation during the pandemic. Connecting with our community areas, stakeholders, and older adults living in the community has been creative and completely online!

From January 27 – February 25, 2021 both Teri Lyn Healy’s student nurses and my group of student nurses worked in the Transcona area of Kildare Redonda. These 2 dedicated groups of student nurses met with community resources teams and connected one on one with volunteer older adults living in apartment blocks…all via phone and Zoom!

Zoom meetings were empowering for all of us, as Colleen Tackaberry, the Transcona Senior Resource Coordinator, and Lorna Shaw from the Health Aging Resources Team (HART) shared key findings from surveys conducted, revealing the impact of the pandemic on emotional wellness leading to social isolation. This was echoed during the students’ health assessment completed with their individual older adult clients.

Both student nurse groups collaborated and prioritized the need for educational powerpoints over the last 3 clinical weeks via Zoom. First, the Windshield Survey provided key census statistics of the Kildare Redonda area with the focus on the older adult.

Next, my group presented on Brain and Memory Wellness for the community older adults that are a group that meet weekly via Zoom, hosted by Colleen Tackaberry. There was strong community participation with 18 – 25 people total for both meetings.

Teri Lyn’s group of student nurses presented on emotional wellness, again via Zoom for community older adults, hosted by Colleen. Both groups provided access to these powerpoints as well as community resources and strategies handouts to the Transcona Seniors Resources team.

Student Quote:

This clinical rotation allowed me to expand my nursing skills outside of physical care. Although the pandemic COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible to perform physical assessments, it allowed me to enhance my therapeutic communication skills by curating individualized patient care, focusing on clients’ feelings and specific needs. With multiple group projects involved in the course, working alongside my clinical group provided several opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another. Another positive aspect of this clinical rotation was connecting with the older adult population via Zoom, providing an Emotional Health and Wellness presentation. We were able to bond with this population and provide a positive message during this time of uncertainty. – Maricel Damaso, SNRRC

Both groups of older adults were engaged, sharing their own experiences and coping strategies for both in-services and offered many words of praise to the student nurses. These powerpoints provided the student nurses the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, current research, communication skills while empowering the older adults in community! We also recognize the incredible resilience of each of these older adults as they manage multiple health issues, the effects of social isolation on mental health, and learning new ways to connect within their own community. Both groups of student nurses commended the community members and Colleen for advocating to stay connected and positive!

– Diane Ammeter

Client Feedback:

“I thought the phone visits were very enjoyable, they have been great to have someone to talk to and that wants to get to know you. Great idea during COVID, keep it up.”

“My student did an excellent job, I really enjoyed the teaching presented and the handouts she provided on medication knowledge.”

“Overall, the phone visits went well, It would have been nice to meet in person but these are strange times and better to be safe, it can be lonely so the weekly calls were always something to look forward to, she’s going to make a great nurse.”

Overall the clients of East Park Lodge enjoyed the experience of talking with a student nurse weekly, reviewing their health status as well as social and physical health concerns, and completing educational teaching sessions with the students. After the rotation was completed I followed up with the clients.

– Teri-Lyn Healy

Post written by Diane Ammeter and Teri-Lyn Healy – Nursing Instructors

Community Older Adults Clinical – Term 2: November 2020 – February 2021

March 25, 2021

For term two of Community Older Adults Clinical, a group of students were at Windsor Park Place; however, due to the pandemic, clinical practice has required some modifications and creativity. Since students had very limited site visits, they had to rely on other means to identify health needs in the community. The tenant resource coordinator for the building was very helpful in providing a list of ideas for the public health education topics based on needs she identified in this building, and students choose the topic “Nutrition: Diabetes and Healthy Heart” in term one, which included providing the chef at the building with a recipe booklet, and “Staying Physically and Mentally Active”, for the second term, since this topic is very relevant to the current situation, with many tenants being isolated and with a lack of activities, both physically and mentally.

Students also conducted a windshield survey, which consisted of driving around the area and looking up some statistics and community resources online. In term two, students identified two areas of concern. First, there are no big box stores (such as Superstore, Sobeys, or Walmart) near Windsor Park Place, and secondly, students noted a lack of road signs pertaining to speed limits in the area. In conversation with some local residents who were out walking during this assignment, students found out that they are concerned about speeding in the area. One sign was also occluded by tree branches. Students discussed ways to help address these issues and made some phone calls. They then wrote a letter to the local MP, expressing their concern for safety due to speeding in the area, advocating for proper signage, repositioning of the obstructed sign and a crosswalk on Elizabeth Road. Additionally, students made a brochure to inform the tenants at Windsor Park Place about grocery stores, transportation, medical services, government services and some other relevant services in the area.

Post by Janet Zacharias – Nursing Instuctor

Bachelor of Nursing Information Session

March 16, 2021

If you live in the Portage la Prairie or Winkler area and are interested in learning more about our Bachelor of Nursing program, register for our upcoming online information session.

The session takes place March 22 from 6-8pm and will cover admission requirements, how to apply, and general information about the BN program.

This Bachelor of Nursing program takes place at the Portage Campus, Portage la Prairie, MB and Winkler Campus, Winkler, MB. Seats are open to residents of Manitoba’s Southern Health Region only.

Register today!


Community Clinical – Older Adult: January 2021 – Facebook Live

February 25, 2021

During the code red public health orders throughout Manitoba this January 2021, second year Red River College Nursing students in their Health Promotion of the Older Adult Community rotation had to “think outside the box”.

Their goal is to connect with the older adult population to promote health and wellness. They also collaborate with the Healthy Aging Resource Teams in Winnipeg, community centers, My Health Teams, or other Older Adult resources within the community. During the pandemic, students connect via the telephone with volunteer members of the community where students assess health needs, provide teaching sessions, and practice therapeutic communication.

A challenge that this group of students met head on is “how to promote health as a public education event in a pandemic at a population level”. This group of students collaborated with the Elmwood/East Kildonan Active Living Seniors Centre to hold a “Facebook Live” event on Wellness, Mindfulness, and Optimism. Eight students participated in the thirty minute presentation geared to the over 240 members of the active living community center. To view the presentation just visit the site: Elmwood East Kildonan Active Living Centre page. This is a great example of how Red River College faculty and students are striving to adapt to this unprecedented situation and contribute to the well-being of our older adult population.

Some student reflection on this learning experience:

“Although I was very nervous to be presenting online for so many to see, it was a great experience, and I was happy we were still able to deliver some health education to that community during the unforeseen circumstances of a pandemic.” Samantha Harvie SNRRC

“The Facebook Live event was a creative way to reach out to older adults in the community. The experience gave me and my clinical group the chance to collaborate together while we navigated a new platform to present to older adults.” Madison Macaulay, SNRRC

“My first time doing a Facebook Live for a class was a great experience. As a student nurse learning how to maneuver in the community in a safe manner was a struggle because of all the extra precautions we had to take to limit physical contact. A lot of nursing is hands on or in person; doing a Facebook Live event was a great new way to reach the community and provide care to those who watched. We were able to get a positive message across in a pandemic safe way.” Alyssa Rasmussen, SNRRC

“It was nice to connect with the older adult population in this COVID 19 pandemic time. It gave both of us a purpose of looking forward to communicating with each other.” Megan Small, SNRRC

This clinical experience is constantly adapting to help Red River College Bachelor of Nursing students meet the needs of the older adult community through collaboration and adapting. Students are inspired and motivated through the unique experiences.

Post written by Bonnie Peers and Tracey McCulloch – Nursing Instructors

Students Getting Crafty: Creative Reflections on Nursing Practice

February 18, 2021

At the end of each rotation in Clinical Practice: Community Health Settings, 3rd year nursing students have the opportunity to utilize the arts to meaningfully reflect on their clinical practice. Students choose from a wide variety of artistic forms to express their reflection including poetry, video, painting, collage, and more. They then present their reflection via WebEx to their peers, which provides a unique way to review and reflect on the key learning experiences/concepts from this rotation. We were happy to have 3 students volunteer to showcase their Creative Reflections from this past term. Please read on and enjoy!

– Tanya Cole RN BScN Nursing Instructor

Natalie Rocan-Menard

“For community clinical 2, we were tasked with representing our clinical experience in a creative manner. It was important for me to try and do something I have never done in the past. Since our rotation was focused on family health promotion and strength-based nursing, I felt the tree of life was a great symbol to represent that experience. I searched for inspiration and stumbled upon a YouTube tutorial for this macrame tree of life. My interpretation of my project is the tree represents the family/client encircled by the community. The roots are the families’ values, health, and past, and the branches the possibilities, the connections with the community and resources that surround them. Community health nurses are in a position to highlight families’ strengths and help grow their connections and family support. In addition, I felt it also represented both our journey as student nurses and the nursing community, and the resources that surround us as we grow into working professionals.”

– Natalie Rocan-Menard SNRRC

Project inspired and tutorial by: MandalaBunny, August 2, 2019.

Sara Kinfu

“This painting is my friend’s artwork, it is named “Astir”. For me, this piece of art is a representation that life is full of struggles and hope. The people in the painting are inside a blanket and are struggling to get out of it. They seem to be at different stages in their struggle as they try to pull out and rise toward the light. I like to think of the light as a hope. Some of the people in the painting are close to the light while others are far from it. People that we come across in our nursing journey may be struggling because of chronic illnesses, addiction or mental health issues. They may be at different stages in their struggles. Some may have resilience and resources and others may not have that. As student nurses, we may have our own struggles whether the struggle be trying to find ourselves in the profession or expressing ourselves. For me, the main struggle during my journey as a student nurse was juggling school and family. However, what inspired me and helped me to keep moving on is the light or the hope that I saw in front of me. Drawing on my past experiences also played a role in helping me pull through. This helps me to see the strengths and hopes in my patients. I believe that their struggles could facilitate their strength. This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my community clinical, to adopt a strength-based practice and to emphasize on individual’s aspirations, resources and potentials instead of their problems. And, I work in partnership with them to maximize on their strengths to reach their goals.”

– Sara Kinfu SNRRC

Artist Credit: Abreha, Y. (2006). Astir [Acrylic].

Michelle Menon

“Community health nurses serve patients in many ways. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team to bring health and healing to vulnerable populations. My creative reflection to resemble the nursing profession includes a stethoscope surrounding a tree. The stethoscope represents the nurse, and the tree can be referred to as the “tree of life”. The tree is interspersed with large sized leaves, which signifies the bigger facilities such as schools, hospitals, and clinics in which nurses are employed in. The smaller leaves represent individuals within the community. You also notice that the leaves are different colours, which represents that nurses are present at every stage of human life, from birth to death, providing care. The green leaves represent birth and younger populations. As individuals get older, the colour of the leaves changes. Adolescence and middle adulthood are symbolized by red and orange leaves, respectively. Older adults are represented by yellow leaves. Finally, as individuals reach their life limit, nurses provide end of life care, this is represented by falling leaves.”

– Michelle Menon SNRRC

Where Are You Now: Cassidy Bodnik

February 11, 2021

Cassidy Bodnik shares her experience and insight since graduating from the BN program in 2020:

Where are you now?

I completed my senior practicum in the NICU at HSC and have been working there since!

How easy was it to find a job after graduation?

I began applying for jobs midway through my senior practicum and acquainted myself with the manager early on, making it clear that I was interested in a position on the unit. I was very fortunate to accept a full time permanent position before I was done my practicum. I would suggest to start working on a resume early on, senior practicum goes by quickly and you don’t want to miss out on your dream job because your resume isn’t updated!

How did you manage the responsibility of going from student to nurse?

Transitioning from student to nurse is tough. I graduated in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and it was a period full of many unknowns, fears and anxiety- all things new nurses already experience without a pandemic. As a new nurse, I recognize situations where I can be independent and situations where I need to reach out for help. I have found that acknowledging that I still have a lot to learn has been helpful in decreasing my anxiety, and has helped me to put less pressure on myself. There are lots of supports in place for new nurses and everyone is more than happy to help!

How did you build your confidence as a new nurse?

With each shift that I work independently, I learn new things and feel more confident in my competency as a nurse in the NICU. I’m always aware of my own knowledge and ask questions if there is ever a time where I am unsure about something. Utilizing all members of the healthcare team is beneficial as well, as everyone has different knowledge and perspectives that they can share. I work very closely with respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and physicians who have all taught me many things. I also take the time to educate and familiarize myself with common diagnoses, assessments, and policies/procedures. Having an understanding of why you are doing something really helps you feel confident as a new nurse. The NICU is a highly specialized area and different from a lot that was taught in nursing school, I still have lots to learn.

Thinking back, what were the most important lessons from school that you took into the workforce?

The importance of communication! In first year, I wondered why we needed to have so many courses about communication, and now I understand. Many of my responsibilities as a nurse revolve around communication. Whether it’s educating families about their child who was born premature or if I am contacting a member of the health care team with critical information, communication is an integral part of my job.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were a student?

You don’t have to know it all. Studying for hours and memorizing all the little details on a slide seem important at the time, however you really don’t have to know it all, nobody expects you to. Knowledge and experience come with time, and the more you seek out new experiences and learning opportunities on your unit, the better off you’ll be.

What piece of advice would you give to current students?

Enjoy the process of nursing school. It seems like a long time, but before you know it, you’ll be submitting your senior practicum requests and not soon after that you’ll be studying for the NCLEX and asking yourself where the time has gone.

Make as many friends as you can! Nursing school friends understand what you’re going through more than anyone and truly become your best friends.

Remember to make time for self care. There is always an assignment to do, a paper to write or an exam to study for, but making time for yourself is important in staying grounded and in good spirits.

Thank you Cassidy for sharing your experience and words of wisdom!