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Two-time winner earns provincial recognition for mentoring student nurses

Peer education is the most effective form of health promotion, says Judi Wilson, which is why she feels student nurses working with her are the backbone of the program.

“I am fortunate that the Faculty of Nursing can send students to work with me,” says Wilson, health promotion nurse in Student Health Services. “I don’t know how my office could function without them.”

And instructors in the Faculty of Nursing argue their practicum placements would not function as well without Wilson. For the second time since 2008, she will receive the Preceptor Recognition Award from the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing.

“That’s how special Judi is to nursing, to our students and to the University,” says professor Lucia Yiu.

Wilson puts students to work on a variety of programs, from smoking cessation to safe sex campaigns, healthy eating and responsible drinking to organizing a mental health fair.

Faculty advisor Colleen Turnbull says that in addition to taking on a minimum of four fourth-year students each semester, Wilson also assists third-year nursing students.

“She takes the time to work with our students, to foster their learning, and to help them grow,” Turnbull wrote in the formal letter of nomination for the provincial award.

It is a sentiment echoed by students placed with Wilson, who say she provides invaluable guidance as they prepare for professional practice.

“Judi contains a wealth of knowledge that she is willing to share with any student who asks,” Katrina Baldwin wrote in support of the nomination. “Through her experience and expertise, her compassion and care, Judi has already made me a better nurse than I was before I entered this semester’s placement.”

And Jasdeep Shokar wrote that Wilson demonstrated all the qualities of an exemplary preceptor.

“As a student of a mentor who works so hard for her clients and her students, I walk away from this placement gaining valuable insight into what being a nurse truly entails,” Shokar wrote.

Wilson will receive her award at a reception Thursday in Toronto.

Nursing professors also to be honoured

Also receiving honours Thursday will be experiential learning specialist Judy Bornais, who will receive the Excellence in Teaching Award, and assistant professor Michelle Freeman, the Doctoral Dissertation Award.

In nominating Bornais, dean Linda Patrick called her “an engaging, passionate classroom teacher” who combines lecture, small group activities, custom-designed videos, television and films clips, role play, medical equipment demonstrations and other media with a mix of research articles, interactive study materials, and electronic communications.

Bornais received an Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations Teaching Award in September 2012, the Faculty of Nursing’s inaugural Faculty of the Year Award, and the Windsor Advancement of Medical Education Award from the Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network.

Still, she says the COUPN award is special, because it recognizes teaching specific to her profession.

“It is an honour in that it reflects the need to impart in our students how important it is to be excellent nurses,” she says.

Dr. Freeman will receive COUPN’s Doctoral Dissertation Award for her dissertation entitled “Migration Intentions of Nurse Graduates in a Canadian Border City,” which has resulted in peer reviewed papers published in three nursing journals: Journal of International Nursing Studies; Journal of Advanced Nursing; and Applied Nursing Research.

Freeman completed her PhD in nursing last year at McMaster University. Her supervisor, Andrea Baumann, called Freeman’s research critical to understanding Canadian employment patterns.

“This study provides insight into the cross-border workforces that have implications for employment in border city areas,” she wrote. “This is an area where little is known and yet the information is critical.”

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