Paulette Lacroix

Students in the Master of Nursing and Master of Science in Health Informatics double degree program learn to refine and improve health information technology designed for nurses and other health care professionals.

Canadian healthcare is going through one of its most dramatic changes in history. From specialized devices to robotics, AI to precision medicine, this technology-driven transformation is revolutionary, and it will change the way every one of us experiences healthcare. But, who’s leading this transformation? Does technology drive clinical practice, or will clinical practice shape how technology is used?

These are some of the pressing concerns that led former nurse Paulette Lacroix to establish the Paulette Lacroix Nursing Informatics Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship supports nursing students in UVic’s Master of Nursing and Master of Science in Health Informatics combined program, and in doing so, puts nurse leaders at the forefront of the technological revolution.

Paulette Lacroix obtained her nursing degree from Lakehead University in 1988 and went on to work in several nursing leadership roles. Over the past 20 years as a management consultant and certified privacy professional, she has worked on many projects with government and health authorities involving the digitization of health information. She’s had a close-up view of the prevalence of technological decision-making that doesn’t include evidence-based clinical practice as a primary consideration.

“I can give countless examples of practitioners creating work-arounds for technology that’s been introduced without their insight,” she says. She cites computerized medication carts in hospital wards. They are intended to automate stock control and add security but, in reality, have been found to disrupt nurses’ work-flows in ways that can be detrimental to patient care.

When nurses are told they must adopt new technologies, whatever the consequences to practice, it diminishes their role as primary caregivers practicing evidence-based healthcare

UVic’s double degree program—the only one of its kind in Canada—trains nurses to select, develop, implement, and evaluate information technology. It gives them the knowledge and experience to identify concerns, design safe and usable systems and address nursing practice issues before and during technology implementation.

“While I would like to see nurses trained in informatics working at all levels of practice,” Paulette notes, “We especially need them at leadership tables, influencing decisions that will ensure technology advances positive outcomes in patient care and service delivery”. 

This scholarship is her way of supporting future nursing leaders in that pivotal role of safeguarding clinical standards and ensuring that practice is driving technology and not vice-versa.

“Nurses offer an invaluable perspective within this digital transformation. The graduates helped through this scholarship will have the vision and the knowledge to go back into the healthcare system and co-lead that transformation.” - Paulette Lacroix

Donations to increase the impact of this scholarship can be made online here. You can double the impact of your donation because all donations up to $25,000 will be matched.

Alternatively, you can mail a cheque to UVic Faculty of Human and Social Development, attn. Development Officer, or call  250-472-5031.