Health & Human Services

Research Assistant - Healthcare Research


Research Assistant work involved literature reviews, presenting findings to a larger research team, providing a summary of findings and engaging in knowledge translation activities.

Position Overview

Frontline healthcare workers, from novice students to experts in the field, experience high rates of stress leading to mental and physical consequences and high attrition rates. While some providers leave the workplace as a result of burnout, many stay and contribute to toxic work environments. Locally, the largest hospital has become well-known for workplace toxicity, widely reported by the media. In response, Island Health and representatives from VIU are coming together to acknowledge and respond to this problem via a curriculum that aims to develop self-compassion as a key resiliency factor.

Self-compassion, which is unconditional positive regard turned inward, is a significant factor that contributes to healthy communities of practice and promotes an ability to manage workplace stressors (Dames, 2018). This project will develop a curriculum that promotes self-compassion among healthcare providers within Island Health (VIHA) and Vancouver Island University (VIU). When healthcare providers lack self-compassion they are at higher risk of mental and physical ailments, emotional exhaustion, and burnout.

The proposed curriculum will communicate the evidence surrounding the importance of self-compassion among health care providers and provide the tools to build it. As a result, its implementation is expected to improve stress resilience among providers, decrease the need for substance use to cope, reduce attrition rates due to burnout, and promote relationally healthy communities of practice. Wenger (1998) defines CoP’s as a “group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.”

The multidisciplinary project team, which the Work-Op nursing student would join, will develop an evidence-based curriculum that aligns with the purpose of the grant by providing support to collaboratively co-develop a curriculum that will inform and improve healthcare practice, disseminating the concepts that undergird the curriculum to a variety of stakeholder groups upon project completion, and building capacity in KT for future research that will study curriculum impact.

 Upon application approval, the work-op student will be mentored to perform literature reviews, participate in the curriculum development process, and knowledge translation and mobilization efforts. All of this work will provide an immersive experience in reviewing the literature for the purpose of supporting curriculum development efforts and in the project development process. Furthermore, the student will be mentored to present the work and their learning at a BsN Faculty meeting and at a formal student-centered conference hosted by VIU. Additional knowledge translation activities will emerge as the project unfolds, which the project supervisor and Work-Op student will collaboratively respond to.

In terms of curriculum delivery, the student will be included in developing the research design, which will begin in October as the principal research prepares to write an application for the pilot research study that will follow curriculum development. As noted earlier, the purpose of the research study, following this proposed project, is to investigate the effectiveness of the curriculum that will be delivered to healthcare providers and to provide a quality improvement process.

Additionally, the Researcher will arrange for the student to present at VIU CREATE and for the Practice Education Leadership Committee.

Position Requirements

  • Enrolled in the BsN program at VIU

  • Experience and comfort performing literature reviews and with knowledge translation activities (presenting in front of groups)

  • A commitment to be available on a weekly basis per the hours provided by the grant for both Fall and Winter terms

Graduate Attributes Associated

Students in this position will gain skills in capacity to engage in respectful relationships, critical thinking, foundations for lifelong learning, historical understanding, indegenous perspective, and reading.

Positition Type

This is a Work-Op position

Sign Up Directions 

For more information, please contact Shannon Dames, Professor, Bachelor of Science in Nursing at