Dr. Susan Duncan

Dr. Susan Duncan

Susan Duncan, RN, PhD is Professor and Director of the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria. She is a passionate advocate for nursing education and the nursing profession, drawing on critical and historical scholarship to inform leadership and change in nursing and health organizations. Her practice, teaching and research focuses on community health nursing, nursing education and health policy. She has served on numerous regional, provincial and national nursing and health organizations including the Canadian Nurses Association and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing. She has held senior leadership positions in universities while advocating for the advancement of undergraduate and graduate nursing education programs. As a founding President of the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (now the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC), she holds the vision of the nursing profession as an essential global political force for the values and goals of primary health care.   

Susan publishes and presents her work on a range of topics including critical nursing education issues; policy analyses; public health nursing, nursing regulation and the future of the nursing profession. She is committed to publishing from a perspective of history, ensuring that future generations have the trail of how the nursing profession has evolved, and those who have influenced its’ directions and impact.  

In her 43 plus years as a Registered Nurse, Susan reflects that she has had the privilege of leading in nursing and health from different vantage points – as an individual and as a member of a collective: 

  • As an individual public health nurse witnessing the conditions of illness and health in the urban core, Susan draws on knowledge and relationships to bring attention to what people need in their communities,  
  • As a researcher, recognizing the power of knowledge in changing practice and highlighting nursing contributions to health, 
  • As a teacher and lifelong learner with students and others achieving greater depths of understandings of nursing and health, and upholding the conviction of an academic preparation of nurses, 
  • As a learner and ally in coming to greater understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ health, human rights and anti-racist practice and pedagogy 
  •  As a leader and member of nursing and health associations, and with communities, joining with others to influence the policy issues of the day - upholding the values of primary health care and ensuring the quality of nursing education programs in Canada.  

Reflection of Directorship

In my present role as a Director of a School of Nursing, I work to uphold the quality of undergraduate and graduate nursing education programs within the university and to influence nursing education policy broadly. I contribute to sustaining and advancing the quality of an academic education for Registered Nurses – one that prepares nurses to think critically about their essential roles in nursing, health and social systems and to practice with competence and commitment – at both undergraduate and graduate levels.   

My term as Director is marked by intense faculty renewal with a turnover of 2/3 of full time faculty positions; the School of Nursing has been fortunate to attract talented and committed scholars in teaching and research. Mentorship and building strategic directions and vision are key to leadership in a School of Nursing undergoing this transition.  I foresee the School of Nursing’s legacy of excellence in nursing education, community and practice engaged inquiry and research and scholarship will extend and strengthen over the next decade. In building the foundation for the future of the faculty through recruitment and community building, I have the privilege of leading with a talented administrative team of faculty and administrators. Together we uphold and communicate the values and vision of the School, Faculty and University in an era marked by intense and continuous change. 

My term as Director includes a significant commitment to nursing education leadership, provincially and nationally.  As Chair of the Nursing Education Council of BC, and Co-Chair of the Nursing Education Planning Council, I have worked with others to influence policy directions in nursing education through facilitating critical debate, and developing consensus in upholding a vision of academic nursing education, and future oriented perspectives on preparing nurses at all levels.  I work to nurture relationships with practice leaders and engage students in policy initiatives.  In 2020, the International Year of the Nursing and the Midwife, this work becomes ever more significant with the spotlight on nursing contributions and influence on human health in a global context.  Also in 2020, leading the School of Nursing into a new era and way of being amidst a global pandemic, has provided new realizations and pathways for a future that we are creating as we go. Together for the first time we are experiencing all dimensions of our lives - teaching, learning, meeting and celebrating -  in a virtual environment in which many in our communities are social isolated. I envision new social mandates for nursing and nurses, our roles and practice settings forever changed with new knowledge to guide transitions in this  21st century.