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Dawn Stacey, Alumni Profile


More than 4,000 students have graduated from McMaster's nursing programs. Here we meet Dawn Stacey, Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa with Chair in Knowledge Translation to Patients; Senior Scientist at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

 Published: Jan. 23, 2017

McMaster degree:

I received my BScN from McMaster in 1987.  

Current position:

Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa (since 2005) with a research chair in Knowledge Translation to Patients and Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

My research:

My research is focused on helping patients understand research evidence and use the evidence when participating in making health decisions with their clinician and self-management. I develop and test interventions including patient decision aids, decision coaching, and symptom practice guides. I conduct research to understand effective approaches for implementing evidence into clinical practice. As well, I conduct systematic reviews to learn about the current state of evidence on various topics. For more information, visit the research websites at and

How I got here:

After completing my BScN degree at McMaster University, I immediately completed the speciality in oncology nursing at Mohawk College. Concurrently, I was working as an inpatient pediatric nurse for two years and with my oncology certificate moved into a clinical trials nurse position. In my new position, I was invited to co-teach part-time in the oncology certificate program at Sheridan College. With a basis in oncology and teaching, I secured a nurse educator position at the ambulatory oncology program in Ottawa. After a few years as an educator, I realized the need for further education and enrolled in the MScN program which led into full-time studies in the PhD in Population Health program. I enjoy my position as a professor where I teach, mentor graduate students, conduct research, and participate on various committees locally, nationally, and internationally.

Why I chose McMaster for my BScN degree:

My mother is a physiotherapist and she thought it was better to attend a nursing program that offers courses with opportunities for interprofessional learning – two courses involved nurses, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists in small group learning classes. I was offered acceptance at McMaster University, Queen’s University, and where I lived at University of Ottawa. Given I wanted financial support from my parents for attending a university away from home, I agreed with my mother’s comments and accepted my offer at McMaster University.  

How my experience at Mac has helped me:

Developing skills as a self-directed learner was the key aspect of my experience. And these skills have served me well in my career where evidence is continually changing. Most of my classes were small group problem-based tutorials (facilitated by a professor); we were given the problem to research and solve as a team.

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