Researcher Spotlight: Denise Bryant-Lukosius
May 6, 2021
By Guylaine Spencer
Most researchers find one area of expertise a challenge to develop, but Dr. Denise Bryant-Lukosius manages two. One focus is advanced practice nursing, and the other focuses on cancer care.
“For the last five years, my main focus has been on the development of advanced practice nursing, nationally and internationally,” she says. “Some examples include collaborating with colleagues in Switzerland to develop a framework for evaluating advanced practice nursing roles and also supporting the introduction of advanced practice nurses in Latin America.” Much of this work is supported by my Alba DiCenso Chair in Advanced Practice Nursing and is done in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Advanced Practice Nursing Research (CCAPNR)
.” She co-leads the centre and works collaboratively with faculty who come from three provinces and six universities. A recent report provides details about past and current projects: CCAPNR-Report
Research into advanced practice nursing is important, she notes, “because clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners are under-utilized. In Canada and abroad, many challenges related to health inequities, access to care, and cost containment could be addressed through better integration of these roles into healthcare systems.”
Her other area of research is optimizing the use of specialized and advanced practice nurses in cancer care. She is co-principal investigator of a national study evaluating three models of nurse led virtual follow-up care for prostate cancer. “I am also very fortunate to have a cancer nursing research unit at the Juravinski Cancer Centre (JCC) where I am cross-appointed as a clinician scientist. One of our main projects at the JCC has involved the use of experience-based co-design methods” she says. “There have been rapid advances in novel therapies, such that the current ways we provide cancer care often do not match with the needs of patients or healthcare providers. These new therapies target the immune system or cancer-causing pathways and work quite differently than chemotherapy. We need to improve the way we prepare and support patients who are receiving these new therapies to manage aspects of their cancer care and we also need to deliver cancer care in a more effective way. Related to self-management support and immunotherapies, I’ve had a very strong collaboration with colleagues at the University of Lausanne. We have published research papers and provided research capacity building opportunities through student and faculty exchanges. Most recently, we received funding from the Swiss Institute for Investigational Cancer Therapies to replicate our JCC experience-based co-design study in Lausanne for patients receiving T-Cell therapies.”
Inquiry and discovery are two things that Bryant-Lukosius enjoys most about conducting research. “I also like learning new research methods, which is one of the reasons why I chose experience-based co-design. It uses novel methods that we don't often use in health services research, such as observation. I like the collaboration with other investigators. When you have strong working relationships, it makes it a very enjoyable process. Many of us in CCAPNR have worked together since 2001. That’s 20 years! Most of us were graduate students or research trainees under Dr. Alba DiCenso.”
To budding researchers, she recommends finding a strong research mentor who is going to support your development and be your champion. “I was fortunate to have Drs. Alba DiCenso and Gina Brown as mentors and I’ve had really good mentorship and support from physician colleagues. So, wherever you can, find a strong mentor with a research track record.”
Bryant-Lukosius is now at that point in her career where she is able to pay it forward and mentor emerging researchers. “There are about 13 of them now, and we meet once a month to learn from each other. They are local, national, and international, so it makes for an interesting group. It's time for giving back,” she says.