PhD Students


Mar’yana Fisher


It’s the journey that counts”, they say, “not the destination”. I still learn. Learn! Learn! 

I have travelled thus far, not counting years, but single steps.  

How many?  How many! Psychology degree, BSN degree, MSN degree.  Who counts?  How boastful!

Nursing and equitable palliative care are the crossroads where my passion meets praxis. Tenaciously, I seek the wisdom of the past to inspire my future.

Who am I?  A small plant. Too old to bend to the wind and too young to stop wondering about the sun.
What do I know?  My journey is only midway. I dream about the destination, remember to enjoy the process and keep an open mind. 


Nancy Henderson

Nancy Henderson RN, MNSc

Supervisor: Dr. Bernadette Pauly

Area of expertise: social justice; health equity; substance use, harm reduction; prescribed safe supply; non-prescribed safe supply; decriminalization, legalization, and regulation of all drugs; access to health care; social determinants of health; structural determinants of health; public health, housing and homelessness; marginalized populations; liberation theory; harm reduction theory; community-based participatory research; qualitative methodology; mixed methods

I started my PhD with the School of Nursing in September 2022, with the focus of my dissertation being on non-prescribed safer supply. Rooted in liberation and harm reduction theories, I am using community-based participatory research and case study methodologies to understand the facilitators, barriers, and outcomes of one buyer’s club. My PhD dissertation will build upon my master’s thesis, which centred peoples’ lived experiences accessing prescribed safer supply, and my background in nursing and program management within prescribed safer supply programs. In addition to my PhD studies, I am a Research Assistant with the Canadian Institute of Substance Use Research and a Teaching Assistant with the School of Nursing

Geraldine IrlbacherGeraldine Irlbacher, BEd, BScN, MEd, RN


With fifteen years of experience as a Registered Nurse in health authorities in Alberta and British Columbia, Geraldine has held healthcare leadership roles where she exercised a strategic approach to problem solving in nursing education and practice. Through this experience she has utilized her knowledge of relevant legislation, regulation, and policies that guide and impact healthcare practice from an interprofessional lens and assist implementing change in the healthcare environment. Prior to embarking on her PhD studies at the University of Victoria (UVic), Geraldine earned her Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Masters in Adult Education from the University of Alberta. Drawing on her experiences as a nursing student and clinical instructor, her research is focused on the nursing students’ lived experience of bullying in the clinical environment during the covid-19 pandemic. Utilizing a hermeneutic phenomenological approach in her research aims to illuminate the nursing students’ understanding of bullying and further highlight the impact it has on students. Geraldine has held roles as both a Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant in the UVic School of Nursing and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Tracy Powell Tracy L. Powell (she/her/hers)


Twitter: @ProfTLPowell
LinkedIn: TL-Powell

Tracy L. Powell BScN (Western University), MN (University of Calgary), Ph.D. (c) (she/her/hers) is a white settler Registered Nurse and a tenured Associate Professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She teaches with the School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health, Community and Education. Tracy has a clinical background in oncology, cancer care and palliative care, with over 20 years of experience in clinical practice and academia combined.

Tracy began her Ph.D. in Nursing at the University of Victoria in 2016 under the supervision of Dr. Kelli Stajduhar. Tracy’s doctoral work focused on medical assistance in dying (MAID), assisted death, family member caregiving, nursing ethics, public policy, and oncology nursing, with her doctoral research focusing on the experiences of bereaved family members of MAID recipients. Through this qualitative research, Tracy seeks to understand the experiences and perspectives of bereaved family members and explore how MAID implementation, policy and processes in different jurisdictions may have influenced family members’ experiences.


Jessy SidhuJessy Sidhu


Jessy Sidhu is a versatile professional with a background in health informatics and as a site clinical nurse educator, actively collaborating on educational initiatives. Her valuable contributions extend to roles as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer at the University of Victoria. Currently, she serves as a teaching assistant consultant for UVIC's esteemed School of Nursing. 

With a master's degree in nursing from UVIC, Jessy specialized in cross-training nursing staff to elevate patient care. Now pursuing a Ph.D. in the nursing department, her research focuses on mental health within the Punjabi community. 

Exploring the impact of cultural norms on mental health prevention, Jessy aims to develop culturally sensitive interventions that foster emotional well-being by addressing these norms. Employing constructivist grounded theory, she delves into the social and psychological processes influencing human behaviour. 

The driving force behind Jessy's research is her firsthand exposure to the profound challenges within her community. She has witnessed friends and family members silently carrying the burdens of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues, often unable to advocate for their own well-being. The unspoken nature of suicide further perpetuates the stigma surrounding mental health, depriving those in need of the understanding and support they deserve. 

Angela Wignall

Angela Wignall BA, BSN, MA

Angela is a Registered Nurse who practices as a policy nurse. Her area of expertise is nursing at the intersection of policy and governance. Her research dissertation focuses on policy knowledge in nursing and the policy core beliefs of nation state level Chief Nursing Officers. Angela holds a BA (York University), a BSN (UVic) and an MA in Policy & Practice (UVic). She serves as the Director, Professional Practice & Health Policy at the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia (NNPBC), Canada’s first unified professional nursing association. Angela also chairs the ICN PAHO region Global Nursing Leadership Policy Network and co-chairs the ICN Global Policy Convenors Steering Group. She is an advisor to the federal Chief Nursing Officer on Nursing Retention and is an elected member of the Canadian Nurses Association’s Board of Directors. Angela guest lectures here in Canada and abroad on policy, political competency, nurse-led policy advocacy, and nurse-led innovation. She lives on the unceded homelands of the Lekwungen speaking peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, as an uninvited white settler.