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Researcher Spotlight: Nancy Carter

Sep 16, 2021

Nancy Carter

The research career of Dr. Nancy Carter, assistant dean, graduate nursing programs  began when she was still a student.  

“I did a Master’s degree at D’Youville College in Buffalo,” says Carter. “Back then, there weren’t many Master’s programs in nursing offered in Ontario, so many of us would drive down to Buffalo to do it. At the time, I was a pediatric nurse at McMaster Hospital and was very interested in pain control for children with disabilities who had surgeries. I had a feeling that children with disabilities didn’t get treated the same way as other patients. So my research thesis was informed by my clinical practice.”  

After her Master’s degree, Carter moved into administration. That sparked new research interests. “I have an administrative background, so I’m very interested in administration and health care organization and health services. And I’m also interested in nursing roles. We know that nurses are so valuable to our health care system but are often underutilized and are often not used to their full scope and we need solutions to health care issues, and I think it’s important that we develop and do research to make sure we can create and implement new roles and evaluate them.”  

Carter is a member of the Canadian Centre for Advanced Practice Nursing Research (CCAPNR), a research unit that is based at McMaster University. “My research is centred around the utilization of nurses and nursing roles to improve access to health care,” she says.  

Carter has completed a number of studies related to what leaders and administrators know about advanced practice roles and how they utilize them, at national, provincial and local policy levels. “I think that was really important to help us understand barriers and facilitators to utilizing advanced practice nursing roles,” she says. From this work, she published several articles and presented her postdoctoral work internationally. One journal example is: “Knowledge gaps regarding APN roles: What hospital decision makers tell us”, published in the Canadian Journal of Nursing Leadership.  

For Carter, the joy of research is “working with nurses in different roles, leaders, faculty and administrators, and networking with people in health care and education at the organization and policy level.”  

As the assistant dean of nursing graduate programs, Carter also has the opportunity to meet with and influence budding researchers. What kind of advice does she like to pass on? “I would say that you should do research in subjects that interest you, and where you have connections. Also, find some colleagues to work with, because research is always a team effort.”  

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