49 Langarans

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Patricia Woods

Current Employee | Nurse Educator

When Patricia Woods started her PhD at the University of Victoria School of Nursing, just shy of turning 60, she was planning to build on a highlight of her long career.

Woods has more than 35 years of experience as a nurse and another two decades of experience as a nurse educator. The former assistant chair of the Langara College Nursing department counts co-leading the school’s smoke-free campus initiative as one of the most significant accomplishments.

As co-chair of the school’s Smoke-free Committee, she worked for three years to protect the tens of thousands of students who walk the campus every year from the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke.

“That policy change was so powerful in terms of health promotion and prevention,” Woods said. “I went into the PhD thinking I’d be doing more work around smoke-free communities and policies.”

Thinking about policies got Woods thinking about decision-making processes, and she realized that nurses aren’t always included.

“Who is making policy decisions, what are they basing them on and why aren’t nurse leaders more influential at the policy table?” Woods asked, adding that she wanted to study how nurse leaders, such as chief nursing officers, or nurses who work for a health authority or the government, develop political competency in policy making.

“It’s very clear that nurses are either very underrepresented at the policy table or, when they are at the policy table, their voices are under-recognized and undervalued.”

Also inspired by the Nursing Now World Health Organization campaign, Woods decided to broaden her PhD to focus on ensuring that nurses and midwives have a more prominent voice in health policy-making, because they have deep understandings of how policies are operationalized on the ground.

“Nurses are the ones looking after people in the hospitals and in the community, and seeing how policies are enacted at the individual level,” she said. “The bean counters aren’t the ones at the bedside 24/7 or in peoples’ homes managing their care.”

For example, in addition to health economists with their cost-benefit analyses, Woods said nurses should be involved in decision-making about the supply of long-term care beds.

“Long-term care is a huge policy issue that people don’t seem to be that aware of,” Woods said, adding that in B.C. in March 2018 alone, there were about 1,400 people waiting for long-term care admission.

“Even though the current demand exceeds the supply, there has been a minimal increase in the number of long-term care beds from 2014 to 2018. The number of publicly-funded beds increased 2 per cent while the seniors population aged 75 or older grew 14 per cent.”

So far Woods is working on the methodology and theological framework for her broader PhD topic. She is the oldest person in her cohort by about 15 years, but she said she feels welcomed.

“It’s great. My cohort are all wonderful,” she said. “We all value each others’ professional and lived experiences and they never make me feel older.

“Not that there is anything wrong with increasing age, as it comes with increasing wisdom, at least I hope so.”

Courtesy of Black Press Media

49 Facts —NO. 14

Langara Fine Arts students have been creating and displaying massive pieces of public art at the Langara/49th Ave. Canada Line station since 2012, through a partnership between Langara and InTransit BC.

Meet more 49 Langarans.

  • Roger Holdstock

    Roger Holdstock

    Retired Employee | Film Studies Pioneer

    Roger was an English Instructor and Chair of the Langara English department. He made significant contributions to Langara’s Theatre Arts, Interdisciplinary, and Continuing Studies departments, introducing Film Studies as a discipline at Langara. Roger also developed the College’s first screenwriting course in collaboration with Studio 58–a project that would go on to become the Langara Film Arts program. He was an active faculty member serving on the Board of the Langara Faculty Association and founded the Langara Gala, an annual event that raised funds for student success. Roger continues to be a strong supporter of the College, funding The Roger Holdstock Scholarship that supports students in a film-related English course. Roger served as the Provincial Articulation Chair of Creative Writing and in 1992, he received the ACCC National Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2005, the Langara Teaching Excellence award. Roger currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival and Secretary on the Board of Directors of the 110 Arts Co-operative. He is a member of the folk band Fraser Union.

  • Gerda Krause

    Gerda Krause

    Current Employee | Science Educator

    Gerda is the Dean of Science at Langara. She started at the College in 1977 as a Biology Instructor and has gone on to take on roles of ever increasing responsibility, including Biology Department Chair, Math & Sciences Division Chair; Education Council Chair. From her contributions to the Langara Academic Plan process; one of the founders of the 49 Women in Science giving circle; a champion for the creation of the Langara Retirees group; and her committee work as a member of the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer, as well as countless other committees, Gerda has left an indelible mark on Langara. Outside of the College, she is an active community volunteer for education and social justice causes; volunteering her time to run girls’ clubs for local Mennonite Churches; assist transition house residents to access post-secondary education; and do committee work on the bi-national (US & Canada) Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Board. Gerda holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Botany from UBC.

  • Lawrence Warren

    Lawrence Warren

    Retired Employee | Langara Pioneer

    Lawrence played an instrumental role in Langara becoming an independent College in 1994. Larry was President of the Langara Faculty Association (LFA) through almost all of the 1990s, including during the strike of Nov/Dec 1992. It was Larry’s political acumen and leadership that led the LFA to decide that this was the time to persuade the VCC Board and President to support the independence of Langara. They joined efforts to convince the provincial government to agree to the change, and Langara College was born. Larry also continued the LFA tradition of positive collaboration with management and established an excellent relationship with the new Langara College leadership and Board of Governors going forward.

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