Dr. Rosalie Starzomski

Dr. Rosalie Starzomski
Professor and APL Program Coordinator
School of Nursing
Office: HSD A431


Area of expertise

Health care and nursing ethics; nephrology nursing; transplantation/organ donation; ethical issues related to biotechnology (e.g. genetic testing for polycystic kidney disease); health and social policy (e.g. consumer involvement in health care decision making); interdisciplinary collaboration; leadership and advanced nursing practice

Past leadership roles held in SON:

Co-Chair - MN Task Force

Associate Director for Research and Scholarship

Associate Director, Lower Mainland Campus

Coordinator, APL Program

Current Committee Membership:

Graduate Education Committee, Graduate Education Curriculum Committee, APL/NUED/NUHI, Committee, the PhD Committee

Community involvement:

I have been involved in the community as a volunteer for many organizations including the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Canuck Place, British Columbia Ministry of Health, RNABC, the Canadian Nurses Association, Health Canada, the World Council for Renal Care, the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation (CCDT), the Canadian Organ Replacement Registry, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) standing committee on ethics. I chaired the Diverse Communities Initiative and the Organ Donation Collaborative for CCDT. I also chaired the Vancouver General Hospital Ethics Committee for a number of years and provided ethics consultation to Vancouver Coastal Health Authority as a clinical ethicist. I am currently a member of the BC Provincial Forum for Clinical Ethics Support and Coordination,

Selected awards:

  • Award of Excellence for Nursing - College of Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia;
  • Award of Excellence for Nursing Practice - College of Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia;
  • Mission Award for Remarkable Commitment in the Area of Organ Donation, The Kidney Foundation of Canada;
  • Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for outstanding and exemplary achievement and service to the community and to Canada;
  • University of Victoria School of Nursing Award of Excellence for Nursing Education.
  • Distinguished Service Recognition Certificate for Contributions to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Volunteer Recognition Certificate from CANNT for Contributions to the Organization
  • Selected from over 6,500 graduates as One of 65 “Inquiring Mind” Graduates to be Profiled for 65th Anniversary of Dalhousie School of Nursing, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Award of Distinction from the UBC School of Nursing Alumni Association for Significant Impact by Contributing to the Advancement of Nursing and Bringing Honor to the Nursing Profession at a National/International Level
  • Named by the Canadian Nurses Association as One of 150 Canadian Nurse Innovators and Champions in Health Care, in Honour of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation.


My research and scholarly contributions are focused on understanding and critically examining aspects of the health care environment in order to develop strategies to improve health outcomes for patients and their families, particularly in the areas of nephrology and organ transplantation.

In addition, I am interested in developing strong moral climates in health care settings to ensure that health care providers are able to use their expertise to provide high quality patient/family care. In order to do this, a part of my research and scholarly work focuses on leadership, advanced nursing practice, influencing change and developing health policy to support nurses and interdisciplinary teams to provide this type of care.

I am very interested in fostering consumer participation in health care decision-making and critically examining health technology development in Canadian society. My major thrust has been to work with nurses, interdisciplinary teams, and patients and their families to provide consultation, expertise and support in the health care community in a variety of ways. Specifically, I have been working in the areas of health care and nursing ethics, health policy, nephrology nursing and organ donation and transplantation. One of my goals is to help to develop a comprehensive and coordinated system of health care for people in Canada with chronic kidney disease. To this end, I have been in various leadership roles with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation, and have used my research findings to influence change.


My approach to teaching is one that involves faculty and students as participatory co-learners. I believe that my role as an educator is to act as a facilitator assisting students to acquire and disseminate knowledge. I aim to provide them with support and opportunities to be as successful as possible in their academic work. In doing so, I am constantly challenged by the knowledge that is co-created in the classroom and online settings where my own learning is enhanced as well as that of the students.

My goal is to create a student-centered learning environment to help develop in students a sense of professional responsibility to the public at large and to the relevant professional bodies. I strive to create, with students, a safe, supportive environment for learning. I subscribe to the theoretical and pedagogical underpinnings of the School of Nursing curriculum where collaboration, critical reflection and relational competence are all key to successful teaching/learning outcomes. Outside of the university setting, I use these ideas in the teaching I am involved with in community contexts and support learners in these settings to be active participants in workshops or presentations.

I am involved in teaching students in the undergraduate and graduate programs (MN, PHD) and teach courses related to advanced nursing practice and leadership, nursing ethics, nurses influencing change and epistemological discourses in the study of nursing.


  • Storch, J., Starzomski, R., Rodney, P. (eds.). (2013). Toward a Moral Horizon: Nursing Ethics for Leadership and Practice. Second ed., Don Mills, ON: Pearson Education Canada. 

  • Starzomski, R. (2013). Opening Pandora's box: The ethical challenges of xenotransplantation: A biotechnology exemplar. In J. Storch, R. Starzomski and P. Rodney (eds.), Toward a Moral Horizon: Nursing Ethics for Leadership and Practice. Second ed., (pp. 448-472), Don Mills, ON: Pearson Education Canada.

  • Storch, J., Starzomski, R., and Rodney, P. (2013). Ethics and end of life decisions. In J. Storch, R. Starzomski and P. Rodney (eds.). Toward a Moral Horizon: Nursing Ethics for Leadership and Practice. Second. ed. (pp. 333-357), Don Mills, ON: Pearson Education Canada.

  • Starzomski, R. and Curtis, B. (2011). Perspectives on organ and tissue donation among Chinese Canadians. The CANNT Journal, 21(4), 22.

  •  Storch, J., Rodney, P., Varcoe, C., Pauly, B., Starzomski, R., Stevenson, L., Best, L., Mass, H., Fulton, T., Mildon, B., Bees, F., Chisholm, A., MacDonald-Rencz, S., McCutcheon, A., Shamian, J., Thompson, C., Schick Makaroff, K. and Newton, L.  (2009). Leadership for ethical policy and practice (LEPP): Participatory action project. Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership, 22(3), 68-80. 


  • Working as a co-investigator with a CIHR funded, international, interdisciplinary team to study moral distress in health care agencies. Moral distress has reached an alarming prevalence in in health care particularly in nurses. We are using participatory action research to empower individuals to take action to move out of a place of moral distress. The intervention is a structured moral conflict assessment (MCA) in four ICUs. Using the MCA process is helping participants characterize their moral distress and leading them to discover and test their own solutions. Effectiveness will be assessed by repeat moral conflict assessments and focus groups at the end of our 2-year project.

Completed Projects

  • Co-investigator (with co-principal investigators: Dr. J. Storch and Dr. P.  Rodney; co-investigators: Dr. C. Varcoe, and decision making partners, F. Bees, L. Best, A. Cooke, T. Fulton, Dr. P. Marck, H. Mass, M. Ramsden, R. Roger, P. Semeniuk, Dr. J. Shamian and Dr. L. Stevenson), Leadership for Ethical Policy and Practice, Funding: Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) and decision making partners.

  • Principal investigator (with co-investigators: Dr. J. McCormick, R. Jefferson (BC Children's Hospital), B. Budz (University of Washington Hospital), S. Matheson (QE 11 Hospital, Nova Scotia) and collaborator: Dr. A. Molzahn). Organ Donation: A Cross Canada Perspective of Critical Care Nursing Practice, Funding: Kidney Foundation of Canada.

  • Co-investigator (with principal investigator: Dr. A. Molzahn, co-investigators: M. Pelletier Hibbert (University of New Brunswick), D. Gaudet (Beausejour Hospital, Moncton). Experiences with Chronic Kidney Disease and its Management (qualitative component of CanPREVENT project). Funding: CIHR.