Trending Topics

Trending topics provides an overview of some current, prominent topics in healthcare so that if you're curious about something, but didn't know where to begin to learn more, you can start here. 

The Association's Harm Reduction Resource for Manitoba Nurses 

The Association's document Harm Reduction: A Resource for Manitoba Nurses is available for download below. This resource is relevant for registered nurses in all settings and provides the Association's position on harm reduction, an overview of the topic and resources for practitioners. 


The lived experiences of male nursing students in Ontario, Canada: Implications for nursing education and practice in the new millennium’, World Nursing Conference, July 2016 - 
A paper dissecting the difficulty of drawing males into the nursing profession despite shortages, both nationally and globally. It goes on to examine the lived experiences of male nursing students as they encounter social stereotypes and educational/practice barriers during their training, and the latent impact these barriers may have on retaining male nurses in both the near- and long-term. 

‘An ethnographic investigation of the maternity healthcare experience of immigrants in rural and urban Alberta, Canada”, BioMed Central Pregnancy & Childbirth, January 2016 - 
Drawing from a sample of immigrant women in Alberta, this ethnographic-themed study seeks to explore the structural barriers newcomers face when trying to access health care in Canada. Some findings include: communication difficulties, prohibitive costs of medicine and to access service centres (especially if isolated geographically or socially) and perceived discrimination/stereotyping, among others. 

‘Advocating for gender diversity in the contemporary Canadian nursing context: A focus on Ontario”, Trans Activism in Canada (Chapter 25), 2014 - 
Contained within a larger selection of writings on gender diverse activism in Canada, this piece focuses on nursing activism in relation trans communities. Written by two experienced registered nurses in Ontario, it sheds light on the various touchpoints where nurses encounter trans people and openings for nurses to advocate for trans gender equity while also helping to improve individual health and well-being. 

‘A scoping review of the literature on internationally-educated nurses in Canada: Mapping a research agenda’, Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, September 2014 -  
Canada is facing a potential shortfall of some 60,000 nurses by 2022, as predicted by the Canadian Nurses Association. With that in mind, this literature review provides analysis of 157 academic papers from 2000-2013 to craft an informed research agenda for how Canada can better attract and integrate internationally-educated nurses within our healthcare system.

‘Increasing racial/ethnic diversity in nursing to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity’, Public Health Reports, January/February 2014 - 
An article from the US exploring how successful recruitment and retention efforts targeting racial/ethnic minority nurses is vital to reducing health disparities among minority groups and low-income populations. While the article focuses on the American experience, it still holds important parallels and lessons for the Canadian context. 

‘Cultural diversity in nursing education: Perils, pitfalls, and pearls’, Journal of Nursing Education, May 2010 - 
This paper looks at how an increased diversity of nursing students in the classroom challenges nursing educators to identify issues that complicate teaching (perils), analyze barriers for themselves and their students (pitfalls), and select new strategies for working with nontraditional students (pearls). The authors also propose some professional development strategies to raise cultural competency.


‘Place, health, and diversity – Learning from the Canadian experience’, eds. Giesbrecht, M. & Crooks, V., 2016 -
A collection of writings on the impact of location, gender and identity on healthcare access and health outcomes in various locations and contexts throughout Canada.  Includes chapters on the intersections of violence, place and mental health among trans and gender non-conforming people; the evolution of the online health consumer; as well as chapters on aging and providing support for minority caregivers. 

*Note: This is a free book preview available online, therefore not all chapters can be viewed.

Eco-Literacy and Environmental Health

‘Climate change and health’, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), June 2017 -
CNA briefly outlines the consequences that accelerating climate change has on health and well-being, and the role that nurses have in supporting adaptation and mitigation of climate change through nursing practice, research, administration, education and policy. In conclusion, CNA asserts that “nurses, by working together, can help address the significant threat climate change poses to the health of the planet we all depend on to live.”

‘Environmental literacy and its implications for effective public policy formation’, University of Tennessee, May 2015 -
This comprehensive overview of environmental literacy touches upon its impacts on a range of areas, including ethics, psychology, economics and public policy; while also highlighting the role of formal and informal education in shaping environmental literacy to combat misinformation. Published as a thesis, this piece argues that “that the rapid growth of ecological issues in recent decades is demanding the need for a better-informed society.”


‘A review of the health benefits of greenness’, Current Epidemiology Reports, June 2015 -

Using a meta-analysis of previous studies related to the effects of green spaces on health outcomes, the authors argue that research indicates that a healthy natural environment can protect individuals against mental health risks, cardiovascular disease and certain forms of mortality. One finding of note is how the interplay between social economic status, age and gender can modify environmentally-influenced health outcomes.


‘Environmental health: From global to local’, ed. Frumkin, H., February 2016 –
Edited by the former director of the Centre for Disease Control's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, this book provides a multi-faceted view of the topic, and how it affects different regions, populations, and professions. In addition to traditional environmental health topics—air, water, chemical toxins, radiation, pest control—it offers remarkably broad, multidisciplinary contributions from dozens of experts in the field.  

NOTE: This is a Google Books preview, and therefore some pages are omitted. 


‘Nursing and Environmental Health’, Canadian Nurses for Health and the Environment (CNHE), 2017 - CNHE webinar outlines the interconnectedness of environmental and human health and analyzes how environmental health is a foundation for nursing and primary health care.  The CNHE states "Ecological sustainability and ecoliteracy development are goals of many Canadian organizations and professionals, including nurses." The goal of this webinar is to increase awareness around nursing’s role in improving environmental health.

Harm Reduction

‘Harm reduction and illicit substance use – Implications for nursing”, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), Updated June 2017 -  
This special comprehensive report examines harm reduction in relation to illegal drug use in Canada, and how that relates to nursing policy, practice, research and education. Also included in the report are analyses of competing discourses surrounding national and international drug policies; a review of the evidence base for harm reduction strategies; and a section on various legal/ethical dimensions of the issue.


‘Past experiences, current realities and future possibilities for HIV nursing education and care in Canada’, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, May 2016 - 
A paper detailing a research study into the current inconsistencies of HIV education for nurses in Canada versus the potential uptake of a mentorship educational model, as proposed by the authors. The authors argue that mentorship education can not only fill a knowledge gap among nurses regarding HIV, but also spur a broader change in attitudes and lingering stereotypes affecting those suffering HIV. 


‘Harm reduction: Compassionate care of persons with addiction’, Medsurg Nursing Journal, November/December 2013 - 
An article providing a good overview of the general principles of harm reduction. In outlining the theory of harm reduction, the article also touches on the attitudes of healthcare providers, effective interventions, and how to initiate discussions and treatment programs based on compassion and care. 


‘Network of Networks’, Harm Reduction International - 
The website for a forum of harm reduction organizations across the world, including descriptions and several website links.

‘Fact check: Dispelling myths about supervised consumption sites’, Canadian Nurses Association, n.d. – 
This quick myth-busting fact sheet dismantles some stereotypes surrounding the impact of controversial supervised drug consumption sites.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

‘National nursing framework on medical assistance in dying in Canada’, Canadian Nurses Association, 2017 - 
A comprehensive overview of MAID in Canada providing a description of the legislative process, a framework of nursing partners and stakeholders, and case studies of different work environment scenarios affected by legalization. 


‘Can medical assistance in dying harm rural and remote palliative care in Canada’, Canadian Family Physician, March 2017 -
A peer-reviewed commentary discussing whether the legal requirement to provide MAID in rural and remote communities will diminish palliative care programs within the same space. The authors contend that MAID should not be presented as “the only respite from end-stage disease” for geographically-isolated persons. 

‘Psychosocial determinants of nurses’ intention to practice euthanasia in palliative care’, Nursing Ethics, 2016 -
A look at the psychosocial determinants and intentions of nurses to practice MAID in palliative care prior to legalization in 2016. Drawing on a sample of nurses in Quebec, the study also offers insight into nurses’ perceptions of ethical principles and moral norms related to nursing practice. 

‘The wish to die among palliative home care clients in Ontario, Canada: A cross-sectional study’, BioMed Central Palliative Care, February 2016 -
A cross-sectional study of 4,840 palliative home care clients that explores the socio-demographic, clinical and psycho-social factors affecting palliative home care clients displaying desire “to die now”. The findings suggest that there is no universal level of pain, depression or psychological distress that leads someone to such a decision, thereby individualized approaches to care management must be taken. 

‘Nursing perspectives on palliative care 2015’, Annals of Palliative Medicine, July 2015 - 
An examination of the role of nursing within palliative care, along with a description of challenges and obstacles to nursing practice within palliative care and education about the field itself. The article also cites examples of recent innovations within palliative care developed in both Australia and Canada.

‘Older people’s discourses around euthanasia and assisted suicide: A Foucauldian Exploration’, The Gerontologist, July 2015 - 
A qualitative, interpretive study into the mixed feelings held by older people around the purpose and usefulness of MAID as a choice in their end stages of life. Some respondents identify MAID as problematic for moral and religious reasons; while others expressed a desire to retain their dignity by avoiding their last days being spent relying on professional strangers administering medical control over them.  

‘Physicians and euthanasia: A Canadian print-media discourse analysis of physician perspectives’, Canadian Medical Association Journal, April/June 2015 - 
Analysis of a compilation of print media pieces written by physicians and published from 2008-2012 identifies three main physician perspectives regarding MAID at the time. Namely: reconciling the adoption of MAID with the basic goal of medicine; whether MAID deserves distinction from other end-of-life medical practices; and advocacy for existing palliative care. 


‘Mental disorders and the desire for death in patients receiving palliative care for cancer’, BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, February 2014 - 
Research into the characteristics of palliative cancer patients expressing a desire for death, particularly the co-existence of anxiety and depression. The authors conclude that when a terminally-ill patient expresses a wish to die, that should trigger a review of the individual’s treatment and overall sense of suffering.

Medical/Non-Medical Cannabis

 ‘Harm reduction for non-medical cannabis use’, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), updated January 2018 -
A comprehensive look at non-medical cannabis usage trends in Canada and internationally. This informative report touches upon the benefits and drawbacks of various forms of regulatory approaches to legalization; health risks for different demographics (teenagers, pregnant women, etc.); and concludes with 10 guidelines for harm reduction for non-medical cannabis users.


‘Canada’s lower-risk cannabis use guidelines – Evidence summary for health professionals’,
Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), June 2017 -
A concise look for health professionals at effective ways to identify the dangers of cannabis consumption and emphasize harm reduction to cannabis users. The guidelines were part of a research study conducted by an international team of experts published in the June 2017 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.


‘The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research’, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2017 -
A report from America’s preeminent scientific academy explores the present status of knowledge and research around the harms and potential benefits of cannabis after two decades of incremental legalization within the US. The report also recommends a research agenda identifying the most critical research questions regarding marijuana use and health outcomes that can be resolved within three years.

‘A framework for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada’, Health Canada, November 2016 - 
The entire final report from the federal government’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. The report contains an executive summary, with additional sections further detailing harm reduction, supply chain management, public safety, medical access and implementation. 


‘Legalization of Cannabis in Canada: Implementation strategies and public health’, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, August 2016 -
A clear 12-point recommendation plan compiled by a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Victoria, concerned with maintaining a public health focus surrounding the legalization of cannabis. Begins with a concise overview of the status of cannabis usage and law enforcement in Canada.


‘Medical and recreational cannabis: Implications for nurses in Canada’, Dr. Lynda Balneaves, n.d -
A 90-minute presentation by a University of Manitoba researcher offering education and insight into cannabis usage, specifically geared towards nursing. 

NOTE: The video is linked through a CNA-associated Facebook account and requires users be logged into Facebook to access.

Nursing Informatics

‘Nursing informatics’, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), March 2017 -
This update of a previous CNA position statement on nursing information and knowledge management (2006) is a joint position statement with the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association (CNIA). It emphasizes that the growth of information/communication technologies will add value to Canada’s health system while also decreasing costs. 


The role of nursing informatics on promoting quality of health care and the need for appropriate education’, Global Journal of Health Science, November 2014 -
Focusing on growing need for nurses to engage with informatics as part of ever-evolving healthcare technology, this article focuses on the need to construct appropriate education programs to upskill nurses on information technology (IT) in the workplace. Included is a helpful listing of group projects and organizations focused on supporting nurses’ involvement with IT as part of their job.


‘Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge: 3rd edition’, McGonigle, D & Mastrian, K., 2015 -  
A thorough overview of the field of nursing informatics, beginning with an introduction to the topic and progressing through over two dozen chapters related to the role/use of informatics in nursing practice, education, research and administration. 

NOTE: This is a Google Books preview, and therefore some pages are omitted.

Population Health

‘What is population health’, American Public Health Association, October 2011 -
This article provides a concise introduction to the topic of population health, arguing that the field of population health includes health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and policies and interventions that link these two. The authors provide a well-rounded view, addressing two of the most significant critiques of the definitional/conceptual vagaries underpinning the field of population health. 


‘Incorporating intersectionality theory into population health research methodology: Challenges and the potential to advance health equity’, Social Science & Medicine, June 2014 -
Researchers thoroughly examine how intersectionality – a research approach that accounts for multiple layers of marginalization (for example: being a woman from a visible minority) – can provide a deeper understanding of health inequalities. They argue: “A greater and more thoughtful incorporation of intersectionality can promote the creation of evidence that is directly useful in population-level interventions such as policy changes, or that is specific enough to be applicable within the social contexts of affected communities.”


‘Acculturation and nutritional health of immigrants in Canada: A scoping review’, Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, February 2014 -
A broad look at the ‘Healthy Immigrant Effect’ phenomenon: newcomers to Canada arriving with fewer chronic conditions compared to native-born Canadians, but subsequently experiencing a deterioration in health due to lifestyle and dietary changes. The article’s stated goal is to further an understanding between cultural adaptation, dietary behaviours and health transitions amongst newcomers to craft better policies for an increasingly multicultural Canadian population. 


‘Association between household food insecurity and annual health care costs’, Journal of the Canadian Medical Association (CMAJ), October 2015 -
Using the data from Canadian Community Health Surveys for over 67,000 people in Ontario aged 18-64, researchers investigate the association between various levels of food insecurity and individual’s usage of the health care system. The findings indicate that total health care costs for inpatient hospital care, emergency department visits, physician services, same-day surgeries, home care services and prescription drugs all rose alongside increasing severity of household fold insecurity.

Social Determinants of Health

‘Perceptions of the social determinants of health across Canada: An examination of the literature’, Wellesley Institute, December 2016 - 
A literature review from the Toronto-based Wellesley Institute investigates the Canadian public’s perceptions of what comprises the social determinants of health, and how they differ from lifestyle choices. The authors argue that for Canada to improve its healthcare system, there must be better recognition among the public about how wider social systems/structures influence health and illness.


‘Leveraging the social determinants of health: What works?’, PLoS One, August 2016 - 
Researchers from Harvard and Yale attempt to tackle the challenge of adapting theoretical insights from literature on the social determinants of health into tangible recommendations for how to tackle range of socially-rooted health issues. Among the areas addressed: housing, income, nutrition and community outreach – all while also reducing healthcare spending. 


‘Systems change for the social determinants of health’, BioMed Central Public Health, July 2015 - 
An analysis of six major reports from the UK and the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to highlight “how action is conceptualized, rather than what areas or levels it is aimed at”. The findings indicate that efforts to improve the social determinants of health produce the best outcomes when they change social structures, not just target a specific demographic to alleviate burden of disease. 


‘Using TED talks to teach social determinants of health’, Canadian Family Physician, September 2014 - 
A brief peer-reviewed commentary article on the potential for creating TED Talks approach to generate more awareness and knowledge about the social determinants of health among professionals and the public alike. As an example, the authors point to a similar initiative already in use among teaching units within the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. 

‘Ideological and organizational components of differing public health strategies for addressing the social determinants of health’, Health Promotion International, April 2014 - 
A paper providing a comparative analysis of the implementation of action (or lack thereof) relating to social determinants of health by public health units in Ontario. Two key factors: specific ideological commitments held by chief medical officers, and the presence/absence of administrative capacity to coordinate resources and effort specifically toward addressing the social determinants of health. 

‘What determines health?’, Public Health Agency of Canada, October 2011 - 
A briefing webpage on the determinants of health from the federal government’s public health department. Provides links to further explanations on the 12 key health determinants, health status indicators, and new and ongoing national research agendas; along with results from previous studies focusing on public health in Canada. 


 ‘Social determinants of health and nursing: A summary of the issues’, Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), October 2005 - 
A clear, concise briefing and background report on the social determinants of health and how they intersect with the nursing practice and profession. Includes easy-to-understand recommendations for how individual nurses can take steps to address the social determinants of health within their own practice.


‘Community health nursing in Canada, 2nd ed.’, Stanhope, M. & Lancaster, J., 2011 - 
This book features a collection of writings exploring the nexus of community nursing and the social determinants of health in Canada, including how community nursing developed as a practice and its ethical underpinnings. Among the topics covered by various chapters: diversity, working with vulnerable populations, environmental health, health and wellness across the lifespan, and health promotion.

Note: This is a free book preview available online, therefore not all chapters can be viewed.

System Transformation

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