Executive Leadership

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Founder and Executive Director

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Judy Boychuk Duchscher RN, PhD

As the Founder and Executive Director of NTF, Judy Boychuk Duchscher’s interest in this topic has been informed and inspired by literature that recounts the traumatic socialization to the role of professional health care practitioner that is experienced by the new nursing graduate. Her doctoral work builds on previous graduate (Master of Nursing) research that uncovered an experience of socialization fraught with perpetual chaos for which the graduates felt ill-prepared, high levels of stress, disappointment in the realities of professional practice, and feelings of isolation in the workplace.

The majority of new nursing recruits today are being hired into hospitals faced with unprecedented increases in patient acuity, higher nurse to patient ratios due to critical shortages in nursing staff, and reductions in the staffing ratios of seasoned expert nurses to novice beginners. Further to this, due to shortages of experienced applicants seeking full-time nursing work, the practice of hiring new nursing graduates into high-acuity clinical environments such as Intensive Care and Emergency has become a pragmatic reality for many hospitals. Upon completing her Master’s degree in the area of new graduate professional socialization, Duchscher was contracted by the Regional Health Authority in Saskatoon to study the realities faced by a busy emergency department integrating new nurses into this chaotic and high-intensity health care environment. The findings of this research underscored the essential nature of mentoring relationships between seasoned and novice nurses, and identified a lack of foundational nursing experience and knowledge flexibility in the new graduate that is essential to practicing in emergency. The outcome of this study was a set of recommendations that included the adherence to strict selection criteria when hiring graduates into emergency, a more tailored, individualized, and staged approach to orientation, and the recommendation of formalized mentoring programs for novice practitioners. Using her two prior nursing studies on the transition to medical-surgical and emergency nursing as a foundation, and drawing on her in-depth knowledge of and experience with using the grounded theory approach to qualitative research, Duchscher’s doctoral research (2001-2007) expanded on existing knowledge of the new graduate’s first 12 months of professional socialization to acute-care nursing. She has recently released her new theory on transition with models on Stages of Transition © and Transition Shock ©, working with health regions and educational institutions across North America to integrate the important concepts contained in this work into workplace and undergraduate educational initiatives that seek to support new nurses entering practice.

Currently, Duchscher planning to explore the the experience of male, practical nursing graduates and new nurses with prior university degrees entering the workplace to ensure a comprehensive and collaborative application of intra-disciplinary experiences to her evolving theory.

As a scholar, Duchscher has received numerous awards for her research, teaching, and study of nursing over the course of her 30 year career. During the 6 years of her PhD (University of Alberta) program, she studied hospital nursing in Canada, focusing her efforts on furthering the understanding of the new nursing graduate transition experience as it influences, and is influenced by post secondary educational preparation and programs of support within the healthcare industry. Duchscher has taught nursing at the clinical, undergraduate and graduate levels for over 20 years and has been recognized by the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association, Saskatchewan Health, the Saskatchewan Nurses Foundation, the Izaak Walton Killam Foundation, the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Alberta Heritage Medical Research Foundation, and the Canadian Nurses Foundation for her contributions to, and potential for excellence in qualitative research and nursing scholarship. Most recently, Dr. Duchscher was awarded the Sigma Theta Tau International Award for Community Leadership and the Saskatchewan Healthcare Excellence Leadership Award for her contribution to advancing our knowledge in the area of professional role transition.

Over the past 12 years, Duchscher has established strong professional relationships with international scholars in the topic of new graduate transition. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters on this subject, some publications which have been collaborative efforts with nursing and educational leaders across North America and Australia. Duchscher speaks internationally about the transition experience of new graduates to professional practice.

National Leadership Director

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Kandis Harris (Kapell)

Kandis Harris joined the Leadership Team in October 2007. The journey through her undergraduate program in nursing culminated in her being awarded her degree with Distinction. Throughout her education, Kandis was actively involved in the Regina Nursing Student Society (RNSS), creating an environment for students that promoted their personal growth and professional development. Organizing peer study groups and workshops facilitated peer support and encouragement, and Kandis continued this commitment as RNSS Co-Chair in 2006-2007. Kandis' tremendous dedication to excellence in fostering group relations was actualized through her work with and contributions to the Academics Committee, the Review of the Reappointment of Dr. Marlene Smadu for Associate Dean Committee, and the NEPS Graduation Committee, providing voice to students and a perspective to faculty as she advocated for their academic needs at both provincial and federal levels. Kandis was duly recognized for this leadership by both her peers and faculty, being nominated for the Ruth Hicks Award for Student Leadership, the National Aboriginal Role Model Award, the McGraw-Hill Ryerson Student Leadership Award, and awarded the Gerri Meili Student of Excellence Award. 

Now the most senior nursing graduate member of the NTF Leadership Team, Kandis Harris has assumed roles as the Bridge Club Coordinator of the Regina Site, Provincial Chair for both Saskatchewan and Alberta and currently leads new graduate leadership development as the NTF National Leadership Director, ensuring the growth and development of leadership in over 40 young nursing leaders from across Canada.  She has been highly recognized for her efforts in leadership development by her peers receiving the 2009 NTF Leadership of Excellence Award. 

Kandis continues to practice as a direct-care nurse on the Cardiac Surveillance Unit in Regina, SK while working alongside Dr. Duchscher in leading the NTF organization. Kandis commenced her MN studies at the University of Calgary in 2010 and will commence her research in transition shock in 2012. Kandis will work with Dr. Duchscher to develop an instrument to assess and evaluate transition shock in newly graduated nurses.