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Research and Graduate Studies

Student RA Spotlight


What is an older person and what does it mean to be old?

Student research assistant Rosaley Klassen had the opportunity to work with Nursing professor Shelley Canning, looking at aging perceptions and stereotypes.

The first project focused on the health and wellness of older adults in the community with a focus on the impact of therapeutic relationships on nursing students and older adults.

When recalling the experience, Rosaley notes, “it was a great opportunity to get exposed to what nursing research can be, particularly appreciating how nursing research can be really people-focused. Although nursing research can be quantitative in nature, it often does include a psychosocial lens that is sometimes missed in more biomedical studies.”

Rosaley didn’t always know that she wanted to work with older people. She didn’t even know she wanted to go into Nursing until her second year at UFV. “I took a year of science because I thought maybe I want to do a biology degree, but then I was like ‘no, I want to do nursing.’” When she started her Nursing degree, she wanted to work with kids but now her heart is set on helping the aging population.

The second project was followed by an art exhibition titled Projections: A child’s perception of dementia and aging. The goal was to discuss social perceptions and imagined truths through exploring questions related to children and youth’s beliefs about aging and dementia. “Students in elementary, middle, and high schools shared a creative piece about their perception of aging or older people,” Rosaley says.

“Rosaley has been an absolute delight,” supervisor Dr. Shelley Canning says. “She worked with me as an RA for two years. Always dependable and a quick learner, she was indispensable in making a study with many moving parts manageable. However, it was when she conducted her own research in a Directed Studies course that I could really see how much she had learned about the potential and impact of nursing research. I’m a very proud research supervisor and looking forward to writing and publishing our results together.”

Rosaley’s role in both projects also included data analysis and documentation in hopes of being published in a journal. “It’s exciting to think about the stage we’re at now writing the paper. Getting published would be a highlight!”

When thinking back on the research she’s been a part of, Rosaley says: “The research continues to impact my patient care. I am often reminded of the interviews with older adults and the drawings and poems from the students at the elementary schools. It propels me to want to hear my patients’ stories and it makes me excited to see young kids come and visit older adults at the hospital. We all have been young and most of us will one day be an older adult, so the research is really applicable on a broad scale.”

Rosaley would encourage other students to engage in a research opportunity.

“It’s been a really sweet way to optimize my time at school. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I did this. It has truly been a highlight to work under Shelley. She has been a wonderful mentor and has impacted me and my nursing practice immensely.”

Having graduated in December, Rosaley is excited to be working and gaining nursing experience in acute care.



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"(Research has) been a really sweet way to optimize my time at school. Looking back, I’m so grateful that I did this. It has truly been a highlight to work under Shelley (Canning). She has been a wonderful mentor and has impacted me and my nursing practice immensely."

  • – Rosaley Klassen
  •    BSN