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Patricia Strach


Dr. Patricia Strachan is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Following a MSc in Rural and Extension Studies at the University of Guelph, she completed a PhD (Nursing) at McMaster. Following this she completed a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. She was a post-doctoral trainee with the FUTURE Program for Cardiovascular Nurse Scientists, a CIHR Strategic Training Initiative aimed to develop capacity of cardiovascular nurse scientists in Canada. Her clinical background is in emergency, intensive care and adult medical-surgical nursing. She is particularly interested in developing, implementing and supporting the optimization of nurses’ communication with patients with advanced illness and their families. This has included the development of a graduate nursing education course (NUR 704) and the use of arts-based strategies to support reflexive practice and learning. Dr. Strachan is currently assessing the feasibility of and adaptations required to implement the Serious Illness Conversation training in undergraduate nursing education.

Select Publications

  • Strachan, P.H., Kryworuchko, J., Nouvet, E., Downar, J., You, J.J. (2018).Canadian hospital nurses’ roles in communication and decision-making about goals of care: An interpretive description of critical incidents. Applied Nursing Research, 40(April), 26-33.
  • Strachan, P.H., Kryworuchko, J., Lin, L. (2018). Challenges in clarifying goals of care in patients with advanced heart failure. Current Opinion in Supportive ​and Palliative Care, 12(1):32-37. doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000318.
  • Kryworuchko, J., Strachan, P.H., Nouvet, E., Downar, J., You, J.J.  (2016) Factors influencing communication and decision making about life-sustaining technology during serious illness: A qualitative study. BMJ Open,
  • Currie, K., Strachan, P.H., Spaling, M., Harkness, K., Barber, D., Clark, A.M. (2015). The importance of interactions between patients and healthcare professionals for heart failure self-care: A systematic review of qualitative research into patient perspectives. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, [Epub ahead of print 08/2014]. DOI: 10.1177/1474515114547648
  • Strachan, P.H., Currie, K., Harkness, K., Spaling, M., Clark, A.M. (2014). Context matters in HF self-care: A qualitative systematic review. Journal of Cardiac Failure, 20(6), 448-455. Epub 2014 Apr 13. doi: 10.1016/j.cardfail.2014.03.010. 
  • Strachan, P.H., Joy,C., Costigan, J., Carter, N. (2014, Apr). Development of a practice tool for community-based nurses: The Heart Failure Palliative Approach to Care (HeFPAC). European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 13(2), 139-146. First published online before print on January 15, 2014. doi: 10.1177/1474515113519522. (Summarized on in April 2014)
  • Strachan, P.H., Kaasalainen, S., Horton, A., Jarman, H., D-Elia, T., Van Der Horst, M., Newhouse, I, Kelley, M.L., McCainey, C., McKelvie, R., Demers, C., Heckman, G. (2014). Managing heart failure in the long-term care setting: nurses' experiences in Ontario, Canada. Nursing Research, 63(5), 357-365. DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000049


Nursing Award (Oral Presentation). European Society of Cardiology, Heart Failure Congress 2008, Milan, Italy.


  •  Strachan P.H., Pierazzo J. Engaging nursing students in serious illness conversation training. McPherson Institute (ELAP grant). Aug 2018- Mar 2019. $3,164.
  • Strachan, P.H. Bridging Heart Failure and Hospice Palliative Care: Evaluation of the Heart Failure Palliative Approach to Care (HeFPAC) pocket guide for nurses. Hospice of Waterloo Region - HPC Consultation Services. 2014-2015, $5,000.
  • You, J., Ross, H.J., MacIver, J., Downar, J., Demers, C., Strachan, P.H., Fowler, R., Heyland, D., Day, A., Giannetti, N., Clarke, B., Zeiroth, S., Mielniczuk, L., Toma, M., Ducharme, A. Decision-making about goals of care for hospitalized patients with Heart Failure (DECIDE-HF). Heart and Stroke Foundation (Ontario Provincial Office).  July 2014-June 2015, $70,000.
  • Lingard, L., Arnold, M., Bates,J., Burge,F., Kimel, G., Marshall, D., McDougall, A., Schulz, V., Shadd, J., Stewart, M., Strachan, P.H., Tait, G., Palliative care on the heart failure care team: mapping patient and provider experiences and expectations. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 2012-2014. $116,024.
  • Heyland, DK. (Scientific Director), Gramlich, L., Mourtzakis, M., Khursheed, J., Graham, T., Mutch, M., Duncan, A., Kutsogiannis, J., Pichora, D., Bryant, T., Tremblay, A., Rockwood, K., Bitritz, L., Newhouse, I., Fowler, R., Albert, M., Muscedere, J., Sinuff, T., Cook, D., Kumar, A., Dodek, P., Skrobik, Y., Meade, M., Lamontagne, F., Bagshaw, S., Cohen, R., Stajduhar, K., Kelley, M.L., Rodney, P., You, J., Johnson, A., Brazil, K., Strachan, P.H., Kryworuchko, J., Kozak, J.F., Heckman, G., Barwich, D., Taylor, C., Jones, K., McKee, M., Yeates, K., Krahn, M., Baxter, S., Stockley, D.. (2012[July]-2017). Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network (TECH VALUE NET). $23, 888, 157 (plus in-kind contributions $21,409,646).  Networks of Centres of Excellence. Role in grant: Co-applicant. Project member; Training Committee.
  • You, J., Heyland, D.K., Albert, M., Brazil, K., Day,A., Downar, J., Fowler, R., Ilan,R., Jayaraman, D., Kryworuchko, J., Lamontagne, F., Ma, I., Palepu,A., Roberts,D., Shik,D., Strachan, P.H. Decision-making about goals of care for hospitalized medical patients: a multicentre, mixed-methods study. The DECIDE Study. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 2012-2014. $157,908.
  • Strachan, P.H., Arthur, H.M., Carroll, S., Schwartz, L. Exploring patients’ decisions regarding implantable defibrillators for primary prevention. CIHR Operating Grant. 2008-2010, $ 91,979.


​Dr. Strachan's research focuses on optimizing health team (specifically nurses’) communication within a palliative approach for patients living with advanced chronic, progressive life-limiting illness (specifically Heart Failure) and their families. This includes the development, implementation and support of patient-centered communication approaches and tools for pre- and post-licensure nurses and other healthcare professionals across care contexts. She led the development of the Heart Failure Palliative Approach to Care (HeFPAC): A guide for nurses. This pocket guide is available for download and hosted by the  Canadian Virtual Hospice at the following weblink: Virtual Hospice.

Dr. Strachan’s research expertise is in qualitative methods. Educational and research interests are informed by a continuing quest to learn about complex adaptive systems and how this can contribute to our understanding about the art and science of communication in nursing practice.


Graduate Teaching

2014       NUR 700, Philosophical Basis of Nursing

Undergraduate Teaching

2014      BScN Program, McMaster University
             PBL, Problem Based Learning courses
             N2I05, Introduction to Professional Nursing
             N2V04, Nursing Concepts in Health & Illness for Basic Accelerated I
             4NR3, Nursing Research practicum students
             (Academic year, 2014/2015)

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