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Michael McGillion, Alumni Profile

photo of Michael McGillion

More than 4,000 students have graduated from McMaster's nursing programs. Here we meet Michael McGillion, Associate Professor & the Heart and Stroke Foundation/Michael G. DeGroote Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Research, School of Nursing, McMaster University

Published: June 13, 2016

McMaster degree:

I graduated from the McMaster BScN Program in 1996.

Current position: 

I’m an Associate Professor and the Heart and Stroke Foundation/Michael G. DeGroote Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Research at the McMaster University School of Nursing. I had the pleasure of teaching statistics with our undergraduate students. My involvement in that is completed and now I’ll be working with PhD students in the PhD seminar series.

My research:

My program of research focuses on recovery after open heart and major vascular surgery. There are many recovery issues that are problematic: infection, heart attack, stroke and readmission to hospital because you’re not recovering well. Being engaged in research at this level allows you to solution real problems that matter to people’s lives and their well-being and recovery. You have opportunities to create efficiencies in the health care system and help people live well after major illness or even before it if that’s your focus.

How I got here:

After I graduated from the BScN program, I went to work clinically in Toronto and then Texas for a couple of years. I started the first year of the Masters program in 1999 at University of Toronto and then fast-tracked into the PhD program. I graduated with a PhD from University of Toronto in 2006. I did a post-doctorate in cardiovascular science here in 2006-2008. Then I took on a faculty appointment at University of Toronto from 2008-2013. I came here in the Heart and Stroke Chair role in 2013.   

Why I chose McMaster for my BScN degree:

When I first came to McMaster, I wanted a degree in Biochemistry. I thought I was going to be a chemist. But I didn’t like it. I needed a program of study that was much more engaged in the lives of people. So halfway through my first year at McMaster, I began to think about nursing. I heard about the program from students who were enrolled – how challenging it was. I came to talk to Liz Reeves (School of Nursing Student Advisor) just before the holidays of my first year in natural sciences. I said, “I think I want to make a switch. How do I do it?”

How my experience at Mac has helped me:

The education I received in the BScN program here really helped me to prepare to learn new systems and try new things. By virtue of that education, I was very mobile. I was able to go and write the NCLEX exam, take a critical care internship program in the US, and I was in charge of an emergency department in Texas. I think this program gave me an appreciation of approaching systems and how to integrate into new things. It gave me those core competencies so that I could be agile.  

If you are a graduate of the School of Nursing, we'd love to hear from you and learn about your experiences. Please email

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