2023 Northern BC Research and Quality Conference - Keynote

Decolonizing Health: Dismantling Oppression

Speaker: Dr. Sheila Blackstock | Associate Professor University of Northern British Columbia, School of Nursing, Academic Co-lead National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health

Dr. Sheila Blackstock

Dr. Sheila Blackstock RN, BScN, MScN, COHN, PhD is a Gitxsan nursing scholar and an associate professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. She has over 34 years of nursing experience ranging from acute care to rural health, Indigenous and occupational health nursing. Her career aspirations on graduating were to teach nursing, and to give back to the northern communities where she trained and worked. She completed her doctoral studies and continues to teach nursing and is active in research and scholarship. Throughout her career, she develops and sustains partnerships with Indigenous leaders and communities to create innovative theory and nursing practice courses. 

Her research and scholarship focus on improving Indigenous wholistic health and the empowerment of nurses, and nurse leaders to improve the quality of nursing practice work environments. Her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation focused on negative workplace behaviors of bullying and incivility experiences of nurses and new graduate nurses. She uses an organizational context to explore the role of oppression embedded within organizational workplace structures, processes, policies. The effects of oppression on nursing leadership, new graduate nurses, students are linked to the creation of fertile work environments where experiences of incivility and bullying are more apt to occur.  

Dr. Blackstock’s research is currently exploring the intersections of racialized incivility and incivility experiences of nurses in varying practice contexts. The findings of her research arm health care administrators with information on organizational structures, processes, and policies to improve the quality of nursing practice environments for nursing leaders and nurses. 

She is the inaugural Indigenous faculty representative on the board of the Canadian Nurses Association. She was appointed by the Minister of Health to the provincial In Plain Sight task force where she worked to decolonize health care legislation, and to enact cultural safety and humility for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples at points of care.  

Aim: To explore the role of structural empowerment, nursing leadership and self-determination in improving working conditions, and addressing incivility and racialized incivility experiences of new graduate nurses in varying practice contexts.   

Methods: This presentation begins with Blackstock’s doctoral research findings to discuss next steps towards expanding the understanding of the role of oppression in health care organizational structures that contribute to nursing job stressors, overload, and create a fertile environment of job dissatisfaction, job stressors, incivility and nurses leaving the profession. Blackstock discusses the next phase of her research using a mixed methods approach to understanding the intersections of incivility and racialized incivility experiences of Indigenous nurses in vary practice contexts to ultimately improve wholistic health outcomes.   

Conclusion: Structural empowerment of nursing leadership and nurses is linked to a reduction in incivility experiences of new graduate nurses. Structural empowerment shows promise to mitigate racialized incivility experiences and wholistic health outcomes of Indigenous professionals and Indigenous peoples at points of care.