McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

328 nurses graduating at convocation

Published: June 12, 2008
Dorothy Pringle
Dr. Dorothy Pringle

Amy Montour knows first-hand how much suffering Aboriginal Peoples endure because of poor health and lack of access to appropriate health care services.

A member of the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, Montour, 33, will take her first step towards working to change that when she receives her Masters of Science in nursing during the School of Nursing convocation ceremony Friday, June 13 at Hamilton Place.

A graduate fellow in McMaster’s Nursing Health Services Research Unit, Montour is the first Aboriginal nurse in Ontario to conduct research in the area of rural nursing. While working on her thesis, she found residents living in rural communities and Aboriginal Peoples face similar issues – too few specialists in their home communities to treat chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, coupled with long waits and transportation problems when they need to see specialists in urban centres.

"When you grow up on an Indian reserve you feel you can’t ever leave, because you don’t want to be away from your family and friends and you think the world is too big and you can’t make it," she said. "I want Aboriginal teens to know anything is possible even when you stumble."

The convocation, held for the 328 nursing graduates of the consortium of nursing schools at McMaster and Conestoga and Mohawk colleges, will also see the graduation of Fatima Al Rifai, chief nursing officer in the Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

She has obtained her PhD through frequent and long commutes between her job in Abu Dhabi and McMaster University over the past five years. She is the first person in her country to hold a PhD in nursing.

For her degree, Al Rifai focused her research on patient safety issues. "As director of nursing I wanted to see how nursing executives in the UAE (view) patient safety – what they think of it, their priorities and their understanding in general about the concept of patient safety and adverse events," she said.

During the convocation ceremony, an honourary Doctor of Science degree will be conferred on Dr. Dorothy Pringle, who is considered an influential visionary, researcher, educator and clinician in nursing.

A native of Hamilton, Pringle became a nurse at McMaster before going on to further studies in the U.S. She has had several high-profile positions and was instrumental in launching Ontario’s first doctoral program in nursing as well as helping to drive the development of the nurse practitioner program in the province. Her research has focused mainly on older people with cognitive impairment and the support and assistance needed by their family caregivers. 

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