Deborah Tregunno Picture 300 x 300

Developing self-identity and compassionate care in nurses

Dr. Deborah Tregunno

Award: Phoenix Project Fellowship (2015)

Co-Sponsor: Queen's University

  • Medical education and curricula
  • Provider wellness/resilience
  • Self-Identity

Deborah’s fellowship focused on building resilience in nurses. She has been a nurse for more than 40 years and is a faculty member in the School of Nursing at Queen’s University. During her time teaching nursing students, she observed high burnout rates for nurses in the first three years of their careers. She wondered whether the nursing field was overemphasizing the technical aspects of the job and underemphasizing self-care and compassion. Today’s nurses are largely judged on their technical competency and efficiency. At the same time, compassionate care has always been a hallmark of the nursing profession.  

Deborah wanted to know: How do advancing technologies and new approaches to nursing education influence a nurse’s self-identity and their ability to deliver compassionate care? 

She used narrative inquiry to explore the history of nursing education from the past 50 years. She explored historical and contemporary nursing narratives to see what factors might influence nurses’ self-identity. With that in hand, Deborah considered how curriculum innovations could better support nurses so they can sustain the delivery of compassionate care.

Hear Dr. Deborah Tregunno talk about her work