Dr. Janet Storch

Dr. Janet Storch

Janet Storch came to the University of Victoria to serve as Director of the School of Nursing. She had previously served for nine years as a Sessional Nursing Instructor at the University of Alberta, followed by 13 years in Health Services Administration and Community Medicine. She then became Dean of Nursing at the University of Calgary for five years. Dr. Storch served as Director for five years, followed by five years in teaching and research, also serving three years as Chair of the Human Subject Research Committee at UVic. She was among numerous UVic faculty who were forced to retire in 2006. She continued to work following retirement.

Dr. Storch’s teaching and research interests were ethics in healthcare and nursing practice. Upon her arrival at UVic she was thrilled to find several faculty members who shared her interest in nursing ethics, and together they applied for and received several federal grants (SSHRC, CHSRF, CIHR) to provide ten years of funded research on nurses’ moral agency, moral distress, and moral leadership. In the latter endeavour, all Chief Nursing Executives in BC joined in the research and publication. Dr. Storch was also involved in federally-funded research on patient safety. In retirement, she joined a BC-based team on physician-assisted death.

With two nursing colleagues, she published two editions of an edited book, Toward a moral horizon: Nursing ethics for leadership and practice, and she published numerous articles with the team in key nursing journals. Her first solo publication was a book titled Patient Rights: Ethical and Legal Issues in Health Care and Nursing. Published in 1982, it was the first ethics text of its kind in Canada.

Dr. Storch held numerous offices in BC and Canada, including Chair of the Nursing Education Council of BC and the Collaborative Nursing Education Program in BC, both groups that strongly promoted a baccalaureate degree as entry to nursing practice. She also served as President of Western Region for the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN). Within BC, she served on the ethics committees of the Vancouver Island Health Region and the BC College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Nationally, Dr. Storch served as President of the Canadian Bioethics Society, spent seven years as Chair of Health Canada’s Research Ethics Board, and was an Ethics Scholar in Residence at the Canadian Nurses Association during a sabbatical leave. Over a period of 20 years she led four revisions of the CNA Code of Ethics. She was also involved with CAUSN on several task forces and she committed to eight accreditation site visits, with five of these as team leader. 

Dr. Storch has been honoured with many awards, including a Robert Wood Johnston Award in 1978, the Abe Miller Memorial Nurse of the Year Award from the AARN in 1982, an Award of Distinction from RNABC in 2003, a University of Alberta Honour Award in 2004, CASN’s Ethel Johns Award in 2004, two Honorary Doctorates (from Ryerson University in 2005 and Western University in 2010) and two 1:100 Awards — one from the Canadian Nurses Association in 2008 and one from the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta in 2016.

Reflections on Directorship

Dr. Jan Storch was the Fifth Director of the School of Nursing, 1996-2001

I arrived at the University of Victoria (UVicSchool of Nursing in July 1996. While my children were small, I had spent nine years as a Sessional Lecturer in the University of Alberta (U of A) Faculty of Nursing. I then returned to study, followed by 13 years of research and teaching in the Department of Health Services Administration and Community Medicine, with close ties to Nursing (also at U of A)Before coming to UVic, I had been Dean of Nursing at the University of Calgary.  

It was an exciting but nerve-wracking time, both for me and for the School of NursingThe first BSN class was preparing to write the Canadian Association of Nursing Exams (CNATS) for Entry to PracticeThe Lower Mainland Campus was in the early stages of development, with two full-time faculty and one administrative assistant, but no suitable offices yet 

The development of this “satellite campus” was not without controversy among senior administrators at UVic, as well as among some full-time faculty members and administrative staff. We had been told to not call it a satellite campus (with no explanation). One Victoria faculty member then coined the name “offshore campus” for it. Nonetheless, that campus did enable the UVic School of Nursing to realize our vision of expanding BSN education in BC.  

The ongoing Post RN Program was a stabilizing influence for the School of Nursing, since it was well known and valued for its rigor and flexibility, enabling many nurses to obtain a BSN either through regular classes on campus or through distance education. Toward the end of my term, the Post RN program was being revised and was beginning the development of web-based instruction.  

The baccalaureate degree in nursing as entry to practice was on the horizon. During my term, both the Registered Nurses Association of BC (RNABC) and the Ministry of Advanced Education, who had previously been reluctant, became united in their acceptance of a BSN degree in nursing as critical for the coming decades. This was due in large part to the shortage of nurses in BC, which propelled both action to gain more nursing seats and the gradual valuing of a BSN for BC graduates. 

Before my arrival, the School of Nursing had been instrumental in promoting collaboration among registered nursing programs in BC. It eventually effected a ten-program collaboration involving colleges and university colleges across BC, including Malaspina University College, Okanagan University College, Kwantlen University College, the University College of the Cariboo, Camosun College, Langara College, Douglas College, North Island College Selkirk College, and UVic. During my tenure, seven of these programs went forward together for CAUSN Accreditation and in November 2000, we were granted a seven-year accreditation. I was Chair of the Collaborative Program that year, and also Chair of the Nursing Education Council of BC (NECBC), which also facilitated this extraordinary moment in time.  

Later that year, and with agreement of our partners, we were able to obtain approval for the UVic program from RNABC. The Lower Mainland Campus benefited from this approval as student enrollment increased. With that increase, new faculty positions were required. We greatly benefited from the presence of freshly-minted UBC PhD graduates ready to fill faculty positions on the Lower Mainland site. significant challenge for this campus was locating sufficient and suitable clinical practice experiences (CPEs) for these students.  

Partway through my term, a proposal for an Advanced Nursing Practice Masters Degree was submitted to the Ministry of Health and Ministry Responsible for Seniors. The focus of this proposal was to prepare nurses for clinical roles in which they provide direct care, and clinical leadership for others providing that care to patients, families, and communities in BC.  The proposal met with success and was approved in the next decade.  

Meanwhile, based upon the grants applied for and received, research and scholarship activities in the school swelled. Many grants for projects were received from local or provincial agencies, national voluntary agencies, and from the national granting councils. For example, faculty received startup grants from SSHRC, one New Investigator Award from CIHR, and team grants from CHSRF and CIHRI regarded this level of research as nothing short of miraculous, given the steady attention faculty members had to pay to educational priorities.  

Coming to the University of Victoria from Alberta during this time of rapid growth in nursing education connected me to nurse educators across BC in dynamic and creative nursing education endeavorsThe presence of several faculty who were also interested and involved in research about nursing ethics also broadened and deepened my own research. Thus, in my post-Director days I could become fully involved in teaching ethics and being part of ethics research teams focusing on nursing ethics in leadership and practice.