Issue No. Spring 2014-01


The Faculty of Health fosters student success and contribution in local, national and international communities as transformational leaders in health and education through quality programming, service and scholarship.

In this Issue:

Message from Dr. Tru Freeman, Dean - Faculty of Health (FoH)

Tru Freeman
As we start the new fiscal year 2014/15, there are a lot of changes for us in the Faculty of Health at KPU. A new name, a new look to our Newsletter, the addition of a new program to our faculty and, sadly, a long time program leaving us to move on to another KPU Faculty. Our faculty and staff have been extremely supportive of all of these recent changes and first and foremost remain committed to our students and the provision of excellence and quality in teaching and learning. The new look for our Newsletter came about for a couple of reasons; first - the desire to create something that would allow you, as the reader, to pick and choose the stories that interest you and secondly -  a new online format that we hope you find easier to navigate.

We would be very pleased to receive your feedback on this new format; please send your comments about the Faculty of Health Newsletter to

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We have changed our name!

Faculty of Health (FoH)

The Faculty of Community and Health Studies previously had several “community” programs including the Gerontology Based Recreational Therapy (GBTR) program, the Community Support Worker (CSW) program and the Special Education Teaching Assistant (SETA) program. The GBTR and CSW were suspended several years ago and, effective March 31, 2014, SETA requested a move to the Faculty of Arts in order to align with the other like education programs currently offered at KPU.  Consequently, in order to more accurately reflect current and future programming and the direction of our Faculty, we have changed our name from the Faculty of Community and Health Studies to the Faculty of Health (FoH). The FoH offers a range of health programming in the areas that include the family of nursing, health unit coordinator, assessment and professional studies (to continue to the website).

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Saying farewell to the Special Education Teacher Assistant (SETA) program in the Faculty of Health

The Special Education Teacher Assistant (SETA) Certificate at KPU is designed to prepare teacher assistants to support children and youth with special needs in Kindergarten through Grade 12 in schools in British Columbia. Education Assistants work under the direction of school and district professional staff and provide support in three main areas: personal care, behaviour/communication, and academics.
After many years in the Faculty of Health, SETA requested and received approval to move to the Faculty of Arts at KPU. The Faculty of Arts has educational programming that aligns more appropriately with SETA and can provide greater collegial contacts and support. We wish SETA continued success in their new home.
Over the past 20 years, the role of the Education Assistant has changed dramatically. Originally hired as general classroom helpers or personal care providers, the role was largely undefined; pre‐service education was not required for hiring. As more students with higher support needs entered the public school system (as opposed to institutions and segregated schools), the need for complex and informed support increased. Over time, the role evolved from one of a “nice helper” to one of a highly skilled paraprofessional with a unique body of knowledge. 
The original SETA program began as a replica of Okanagan College’s Continuing Education Program in 1990 and was a joint offering of Fraser Valley College and the Langley School District; it was taken on by KPU’s Continuing Education department mid‐program when the other two institutions were unable to continue delivery with this intake. From 1991‐1996, the SETA Program was offered as a non‐credit Citation out of KPU’s Continuing Education Department and consisted of one day workshops and short (36 hour) courses. In order to meet the changing needs of the field and the students, the program was revised, under the auspices of the Faculty of Community and Health Studies Curriculum Committee, and developed into a 30 credit Certificate. In May of 1996, it was approved by Education Council as a credit program. The program now offers 37.5 university credits that can now be used to ladder into other programs, such as a B.A. in General Studies at KPU, teacher education programs and other human service and child/youth care programs.
The SETA program is in the process of requesting a program name change to Education Assistant (EA), to reflect the current and updated designation.

Woodyard, S., Williams, A., Cowell, B & Robertson, C. (June, 2011). Special Education Teacher Assistant (SETA) Certificate Program Review: Self Study; KPU

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The Faculty of Health (FoH) at KPU to host the first public School of Traditional Chinese Medicine

On January 24th, 2014, the Ministry of Advanced Education (AVED) Minister Amrik Virk announced that KPU would host the province’s first public school of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Burnaby North MLA, Richard Lee has been appointed Parliamentary Secretary and liaison between the community, AVED and KPU. KPU President, Alan Davis stated “This is a unique opportunity; we are excited to start working with the Province to make the school a reality."

The commitment to create an environment for a school of traditional Chinese medicine at a British Columbian publicly funded, post-secondary institution was included in the February 2013 throne speech and is a government platform commitment. In August, 2013 the provincial government sent out a request to all 25 post-secondary educational institutions in the province to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the opportunity to host the provinces first public School of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); the EOI's were due on September 13, 2013.  The Faculty of Health at KPU was very excited to hear that we were the university chosen to begin a TCM program. The School of TCM  will be developed over the next two years for a tentative September, 2015 start date. The FoH will be working closely with the TCM practitioner community, the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturists of BC (CTCMA), the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturists of BC (ATCMA), the Chinese community, international partners in China and many subject matter experts. One of our first jobs will be to develop a Program Advisory Committee (PAC) that will help guide the development of the School of TCM; we expect to announce the TCM - PAC committee members in May 2014.  We are so excited to offer a alternative/complementary health program within the FoH; stay tuned for additional information on our website:  School of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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Admissions Changes at a Glance

There will be three types of admissions; undergraduate, vocational, and preparatory admissions.

Undergraduate applicants from all admission categories must meet KPU’s English proficiency requirements through high school courses (C+ in English 12 or approved equivalency, or A in Communications 12), or equivalent post-secondary courses, or testing options. In support of this project, KPU English equivalencies are currently under review. Pathways to facilitate admission for those who do not meet these requirements are under development as well.

Undergraduate English Proficiency Requirement does not apply for vocational and preparatory admission. Admission requirements for vocational or preparatory studies are published in the university calendar.

Programs in continuing or professional studies do not require formal assessment of admission and do not fall within the scope of the admission changes that are part of the University transitions Project.

Each Faculty will establish their admissions requirements and eligible applicants will be admitted to a Faculty, (not a program, which is the current practice). A new advising model will also be introduced that will include a process for program declaration.

These new requirements are effective for all KPU applicants to the September 2015 intake. Applications will be accepted for this intake starting November 1, 2014.

The Faculty of Health Studies (FoH) is currently in discussions to identify admissions requirements for Health as well as establishing a foundational year of core health courses for Health students in undergraduate programs of study.

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A provincial curriculum for the Heath Care Assistant program

The Health Care Assistant (HCA) is an integral part of the health care team that provides front-line care to persons in both residential and institutional settings.

In 2008, the Home Support / Resident Care Attendant Curriculum Project reviewed and revised the provincial curriculum based on standards of care and competencies required by this professional.

At the same time, the provincial government made a commitment to ensure that all educational institutions offering the program were in compliance through the development of the BC Care Aid Registry and an extensive program review process. All HCAs practicing in the province are required to provide a certificate to the registry from a recognized education institution.

Its now time for KPU to take a closer look at the HCA program and complete the program review process. Over the next few months, the program will compile data that demonstrates our compliance as well as hosting a site visit by the BC Care Aid Registry.  KPU has consistently delivered an HCA program that provides our graduates with the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide quality and relevant care to a complex and changing health care population and welcomes the review process.

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Research looking at the effects of a Deliberate Practice Model during a 'Response to Rescue' High Fidelity Patient Simulation

The purpose of this international multi-site randomized controlled pre-test/post-test repeated measure design study is to compare student nurse competency, learning retention, and perceived student support after exposure to deliberate practice debriefing versus standardized debriefing.

Standardize debriefing is done once the student has completed the simulation whereas deliberate practice debriefing is done at set increments during the simulation. The results of this research project could change the way debriefing is done in regards to all types of simulation. The benefits to students are the ability to practice this scenario in a safe environment where client harm cannot occur. Most students would not have this opportunity during their clinical rotations as response-to-rescue events occur infrequently. Senior level nursing students will be in the work force soon, and participating in this learning activity may help them to prepare for real life crisis situations.

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What does recovery mean to adults living with mental health?

Four students in the Faculty of Health - Bachelor of Science in Nursing program embarked on the creation of a video highlighting what recovery meant to individuals living with a mental illness.

The youtube video link (below) was created at a local Fraser Health Clubhouse program in Langley operated by the Stepping Stone Community Services Society. This 3 minute video was created by four KPU nursing students (Ashley Varty, Jaskerth Chahal, Sonia Parmar and Kristina Stone) as part of their practicum placement at Stepping Stone. The students embarked on a project to find out from members of the Clubhouse what recovery meant to individuals living with a mental illness. The results of the project speak for themselves in this powerful 3 minute video.

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Building Capacity at the Surrey Urban Mission

In the summer of 2013, three KPU students from the Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing (BPN) program, Munish Kumar, Filip Soswa and Radhika Khosla volunteered for a Community Capacity Building Project at the Surrey Urban Mission (SUM). 

This project was to increase the service to marginalized health consumers in the Whalley area.

This project was viewed as being within the educational context of the PSYN 3200 – Global Health Course in the BPN curriculum. The project entailed the development of a wellness centre with patient referral capability, a library, a community garden and other improvements to the surroundings of the facility as a means to creating a new image for the SUM.

Shelly Murley, from the KPU Horticulture program, supported the BPN students in their endeavours to increase the image by supplying these students with a variety of decorative plants for both inside and outside the facility. This initiative was also provided with strong support from the Fraser Health Authority. In support of this project the Faculty provided a variety of books while encouraging individuals to gain more knowledge and insight in various aspects of personal growth and development.

Through hard work and creative thinking, these three students completed the project in the time frame permitted. The facility, their clients and the students celebrated the grand opening of the rejuvenated facility on October 25th, 2013. In attendance at the grand opening were Stephanie Howes, (Associate Dean of the Faculty of Community and Health Studies) and Judith McCrae( BPN faculty and Director, Fraser Health Authority).

The Bachelor of Psychiatric Nursing program wishes to thank all those who contributed to the completion of this project with a special thank you to Munish, Radhika and Filip for your initiative and efforts.

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FoH faculty member honoured with the Shakti Award for Academic Excellence on International Women’s Day

 Shakti AwardsThe Shakti Award in Academic Excellence is given to an educated woman who achieves credentials against odds, demonstrates inner strength and uses her knowledge for the betterment of the community. The following is an excerpt of the submission made by those who nominated Dr. Balbir Gurm for the Shakti Award of Academic Excellence. 

Dr. Balbir Gurm is a nursing educator who has been a community activist for most of her adult life.  She started by being involved in student leadership as president of the nursing undergraduate society at UBC and joined the India Mahila Association to work on gender issues.  Later she moved to Surrey when she was hired at KPU  to teach in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and joined the Indo-Canadian Women’s Organization and was its President in the late 1990s.  She returned to University in 1995 when her youngest of three children started Kindergarten to finish her doctorate.  While working on her doctorate, she continued to work as a fulltime faculty at KPU and worked on community projects such as cancer prevention, awareness and screening, nutrition for seniors, and diabetic and heart education.  While she was President of the Parent Advisory Council, she worked with PAC to hold the first ever Vaisakhi celebration in schools at a community level in 2002 by holding a cultural show and having PAC members cook and serve free food.  This resulted in participation by over 90% of the school’s catchment area. As PAC President, she also advocated for and achieved policy changes in nutrition and fitness to deal with child obesity and increased parental involvement in the school by 500%.  She has served on many committees and boards including Education Policy Chair for the Federation of Post Secondary Educators’ of BC; member: Pension and Disability Tribunal, BC Parole Board, Canadian Cancer Society Board, President Virsa and Vice-President Canada India Education Society as well as many KPU committees over her 23 years as faculty member. She is currently a member of City of Surrey’s Diversity Advisory Committee.  Just over three years ago, she founded NEVR (Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships) whose mission is to lead initiatives to intervene, reduce and ultimately eliminate the incidence of violence in relationships and shift societal norms that condone its prevalence ( Through Balbir’s leadership, a network of over 30 organizations work together to identify and address issues through workshops and conferences and raise awareness with events such as One Billion Rising and hosting 7 provincial ministers to pledge to work together.  NEVR is currently organizing a media campaign aimed at challenging power relations and normalizing equity between all family members.  As well,  Balbir is a passionate educator who has been awarded the NISOD Award by the University of Texas for teaching excellence, The teaching excellence award from the College of Registered Nurses in British Columbia, the volunteer leadership award from the Canadian Cancer Society as well as a Times of Canada Academic Excellence Award.  Balbir believes that educational experiences are influenced by history and context, need to be grounded in reality and educators need to practice what they teach. That is why she tries to live by Guru Nanak’s philosophy and raise issues of equity in both academic and community settings to address both policies and practices. She truly believes that to create a more equitable inclusive world, we must all engage in community action!

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Leadership and advocacy in the Bachelor of Science Nursing program

In Nursing 4141, Nursing Practice 7 (semester 7 course in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program), two of the foci are  leadership and advocacy

Students in this course were observers at the British Columbia Nurses' Union Annual General Meeting to learn through lived experience from frontline Registered Nurses. 

They learned about BCNU's advocacy campaign to draw attention to the care delivery model redesign (CDMR ) being implemented by Island Health and how this is displacing Registered Nurses with nursing care assistants. Labour leaders answered tough questions from the audience about they were ensuring that the BCNU  action plan was the best plan to draw attention to CDMR and its' impact on the RNs ability to provide safe patient care.  The participants spoke about how this restructuring was putting their RN practice license at risk by being exposed to environments that place patients at risk.  The students stated this was an extremely valuable experience because it allowed them to see theory in action.

In photo are: Nursing 4141 students with Debra Macpherson, BCNU President, Donna Malyon, KPU Faculty and Dr. Balbir Gurm, KPU Faculty.

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BC IEN Assessment Service:  User Fee Implemented

Internationally Educated Nurses (IENs) seeking licensure with the College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) who are required to undergo a competency assessment must now pay a user fee.

Since 2008 provincial and federal dollars have covered the cost of assessing over 1700 internationally educated nurses (IENs) in BC as part of a pan-Canadian approach to pre-licensure standardized assessment. The goal of the project was to have a pan-Canadian approach to assessment using standardized tools and processes that would provide for reciprocity of licensure between the provinces for IENs. Initially, the four western provinces created provincial assessment services using the tools and processes developed by Mount Royal University in Alberta.  The project has been very successful and over the past few years discussions have been underway about how to transition the project to a self-sufficient, sustainable service.

The BC IEN Assessment Service received notification in March 2014, that funding to support IENs undertaking the Substantially Equivalent Competency (SEC) assessment in BC will no longer be available. The result will be a change in process where applicants must now pay for assessment. This new user-pay service model comes into effect 2014 April 01st.  In addition to new applications, this change also affects applicants who have a current referral to the BC IEN Assessment Service.

A pay for service model will allow the BC IEN Assessment Service to respond more quickly to market demand and increase assessments where necessary. It is anticipated that the wait for a SEC will be shortened, and a user pay model allows the BC IEN Assessment Service to recoup costs related to cancellations and missed appointments. For more information related to the changes, please see the CRNBC website.

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Next issue: October 2014