Campus Life - Kamloops  

New website supports essential health workers

Nursing the Future website launches.

The support is immediate, the connections are authentic and the timing is perfect. 

The Nursing The Future website and online community launched this week. Led by Dr. Judy Duchscher, associate professor at the School of Nursing, and supported by a team of students, new graduates and expert nurses, the site establishes an online network for new registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and licensed practical nurses to find support, make connections and access professional development opportunities.

The site, supported by a grant from the Canadian Nurses Foundation (CNF), and by administrative assistance from the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), launches at a perfect time, when new graduates are entering into the field at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Easing the transition to practice

“I wanted to find a way to help young nurses change the profession and sustain their values in a very dynamic and somewhat resistant system,” says Duchscher, explaining that the project originally began in 2003, albeit on a smaller scale. 

This revamped national network was developed in a time of tremendous need, Duchscher says, adding that nurses can find immediate support, enabling them to make a healthy transition to nursing practice.

“If we want to create and sustain a health-care system that is going to be there for all of us, we need these young practitioners to feel inspired and motivated and supported. We need them to commit to the future of health care, and we need them to feel like we are wrapping our arms around them, because it’s a pretty cold place out there right now, both personally and professionally,” Duchscher says.

Burnout leads to attrition

Studies have shown between 31 and 65 percent of new nurses consider leaving the profession within the first two years; 67 percent of them report experiencing burnout and express a desire to quit. 

“I don’t want to focus on throwing people life rafts, I want to help them to develop as they move to the next phase of their practice,” says Duchscher.

Nursing The Future is sponsored by the CNF’s COVID-19 Fund for Nurses until July 31, 2021. The website offers nurses a network of information, education and social connection.


Judy Duchscher
TRU School of Nursing associate professor
[email protected] | 306-716-3286 (cell)
Please visit www.nursingthefuture.ca

Day of Giving raised $50K for students, programs

Students celebrate Day of Giving

72 donors. $50,390 raised. 140 percent of goal reached!

All in, TRU’s Day of Giving raised $50,390 in November, surpassing the goal to raise $36,000 in 36 hours. Donors—including alumni, long-time supporters and new contributors—chose from a variety of funds to make their donation during the fundraiser, held Nov. 5 and 6.

The fourth annual event kicked off differently this year, but still garnered community support. Despite cancelling the TRU Foundation Breakfast, which typically launches the Day of Giving, organizers were blown away by the generosity and expressed gratitude for the giving community of the Thompson-Nicola.  

“The pandemic has affected so many people; we knew going into it that some folks weren’t going to be able to give. We just thought if we could get the message out to those fortunate, that were in a position to donate, we wanted them to know that we’re working to support as many students as we could during this time,” Diana Major, director of development for Annual Giving, told the TRU Omega.

Donors gave generously to various bursaries and scholarships across the university; WolfPack 50, which funds awards for student-athletes; Women in Trades programming; Indigenous Education Bursaries; and more. All donations contributed to TRU’s Limitless campaign to raise $50 million. 

Here’s what donors had to say:

“Bursaries assisted me when I attended TRU and ensure future generations can complete valuable learning.”

Bronwen Pakka, alumna

“We need to invest in future generations to keep this community AMAZING!”

Tina Matthew, executive director, Office of Indigenous Education

“I support TRU because our future is in the hands of TRU students. What we give now will come back to us in the form of competent, knowledgeable and dedicated practitioners in all disciplines and occupations, from plumbing to nursing. And with health care so much in focus right now, a contribution is guaranteed to make a difference.”

Dawn Mackenzie, Seasons Health Therapies-BC Interior

“I support TRU because educational opportunities are beneficial to individuals and beneficial to the communities in which those educated individuals live!”

Karie Ghering, Windsor Plywood Kamloops

“I support TRU because education is the societal foundation in which all great communities are built upon. TRU has been integral to the growth of my local community and my own personal development.”

Jordan Hirschmiller, co-chair of the TRU Alumni and Friends Association

“I support TRU because I feel that it is vitally important that we help support youth prepare for the future of work combined with supporting our local communities. We value our longstanding partnership with TRU and the important work they deliver in partnership with our community. We have been excited to partner with TRU by supporting several programs including the Women in Trades Group, student bursaries and our co-op programs.”

Dave Maurer, RBC

For more on the Limitless campaign, visit tru.ca/limitless.

TELUS sponsors carbon accounting program at TRU

Business students

Researchers to help companies reduce their carbon footprint

A new research opportunity will benefit both grad students and local organizations. TELUS is sponsoring a program at TRU that will pair graduate research fellows with businesses or non-profits that want to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Community Carbon Accounting Program (C2AP) is an initiative in partnership with the Interior University Research Coalition (IURC) that will connect businesses primarily with graduate students pursuing their Master of Science in Environmental Economics and Management (MScEEM).

TELUS Sustainability Research Fellows will produce recommendations to help partnering organizations work toward carbon neutrality. Economics professor Laura Lamb said grad students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-life setting, in essence playing the role of a consultant. Graduate research fellows will measure the carbon footprint, make recommendations for reductions and energy savings, look at potential abatement levels, assess the cost of different technologies, and more.

“When I first heard about this project, what got me really excited was that it’s very much an applied project. It’s a great opportunity for students,” Lamb said.

TELUS is sponsoring the first year of the program, which will welcome its first cohort of research fellows in 2021.

“At TELUS, we are committed to driving positive social outcomes and helping to ensure stronger and healthier communities, while caring for our environment,” said Geoff Pegg, director, TELUS Sustainability and Environment. “We are excited to support the innovative Community Carbon Accounting Program with TRU. Not only will it support students with their education, but will also allow them to connect to their local businesses to encourage positive environmental impacts.”

Given the challenges of climate change, private sector companies and public organizations have committed to going carbon neutral. TRU aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, in part through its campus electrification strategy to avoid the burning of fossil fuels. Lamb said the recent federal commitment to reduce emissions is expected to put greater pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprint. There is evidence that both for-profit companies and non-profits are making larger attempts to do so, Lamb said.  

“We developed the MScEEM program because the field of sustainability is growing at the local, national and global level,” said Mike Henry, dean of the School of Business and Economics. “Graduate students need experiential opportunities like this to be leaders in management and environmental economics. The fellows’ research will have a direct impact on business sustainability in the Interior.”

The program is modelled after a similar initiative between the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. TRU, UNBC and the University of British Columbia-Okanagan form the IURC.

“This is a great example of the strength of our collaboration across the IURC—sharing innovative programming and engaging in our business communities’ efforts to address climate change, while also providing real-world opportunities for our students to develop valuable skills for careers in sustainability,” said Janice Larson, director of the Tri-University Partnership Office. “Many thanks to TELUS for supporting this good work.”

Companies interested in a carbon assessment can contact Professor Laura Lamb at [email protected] or 250-852-6277.


Created by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Thompson Rivers University (TRU), and University of British Columbia-Okanagan (UBC-O) in 2017, the Interior University Research Coalition forms a core of research and innovation talent and infrastructure in the BC Interior. The goal of the IURC is to accelerate the BC Interior’s research and innovation ecosystem by harmonizing resources, enhancing student and faculty mobility, increasing academic opportunities, and establishing community connections. 

Law professor finds success in Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada recently recognized the voices and rights of people with mental health or addiction histories in a precedent-setting ruling.

Read the ruling

In February 2020, Dr. Ruby Dhand, associate professor in the Faculty of Law, appeared in the country’s top court as part of a legal team on behalf of the Empowerment Council, intervening in a charter challenge.

On Nov. 20, 2020, the Court issued its ruling in Ontario (Attorney General) v. G and held that part of Ontario’s sex-offender registry is discriminatory as it applies to those who have been found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for a crime involving a sexual offence.

According to the ruling, the sex-offender registry, known as Christopher’s Law, “perpetuates disadvantage and negative stereotypes about persons with mental illness.” The Supreme Court of Canada found part of Christopher’s Law is unconstitutional, according to section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We were representing people for whom there was no hope of ever getting off the registry. In the ruling, the judges recognized that society and people think, wrongly, that people with mental health or addiction histories are, by nature, dangerous,” says Dhand.

“This ruling has a profound impact on all of those individuals with mental health or addiction histories found not criminally responsible. We are very much committed to working toward systemic change and to recognize the rights of those who are marginalized,” she says.   

Dhand is an expert in mental health law and has long advocated for increasing access to justice for people with mental health or addiction histories.


The legal team, led by Anita Szigeti, one of Canada’s leading experts in mental health law, challenged the unilateral application of Christopher’s Law. 

All those who committed a sexual offence in Ontario are included on the sex offender registry, which also applied to those who are found not criminally responsible. 

“However, individuals who are convicted have an opportunity to be removed from the registry, but those same types of ‘exit ramps’ are not available to people with mental health or addiction histories found not criminally responsible,” explains Dhand. Without this chance, people with mental health or addiction issues experience discrimination according to section 15 of the charter.

“There should be an option of escaping that label, because when you are really working on your road to re-integration, wearing this label impedes your ability to do so.”

Being found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder legally means that you have been cleared from committing a crime, and by definition it means that in the commission of an offence, the offender had no idea what they were doing, or that what they were doing was wrong. 

“The law has built this special stream of ‘not criminally responsible,’ for these clients to get well and to get back into society,” says Dhand, who adds that many of these clients undergo years of treatment, during which time their risk to the public is reassessed on an ongoing basis. 

“This ruling advances the section 15 charter-protected equality rights of people with mental health or addiction histories,” explicitly recognizing that “mental health [issues] are not like other illnesses, because they regularly cause people to lose their rights and freedoms in ways that are unimaginable in other health conditions.”

Presenting this charter challenge under section 15 at the Supreme Court of Canada was “life-changing,” says Dhand.

“We are very hopeful this case will result in systemic and transformative change for people with mental health or addiction histories.”


Dr. Ruby Dhand, associate professor
778-471-8457 | [email protected]

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