UNB Alumni
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Jennifer Splane (BSc'11, BN'15) creates her path as a nurse practitioner and healthcare researcher

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on May 17, 2021

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John , Young Alumni , Inspiring Stories


Jennifer Splane (BSc'11, BN'15) is a current MN.ANP candidate and soon-to-be three time UNB alumna. She recently defended her thesis "Transitioning from Pediatric to Adult Healthcare: Exploring the Practices and Needs of Care Providers" and takes a moment to share why she is passionate about healthcare.


Did you always know you wanted to study nursing?

I actually did not know that I would end up in this field. I was always interested in science, in particular the human sciences. It was my interest in healthcare that started me on the nursing path.

How does it feel to be one of only three nurse practitioner students who have completed a thesis as part of their NP studies at UNB over the past 10 years?

Since beginning my graduate studies, I knew that I wanted to be able to forge a path that combined practice and research. To do this, I knew that I would need to acquire research experience and complete a thesis. I was not aware that it was an unusual pursuit, but I am proud of the accomplishment along with those others who chose this path.

In what ways do you hope your thesis work will help impact transition care for youth with complex care needs?

I think that my work is an important part of the larger picture of what transition practice is currently like in New Brunswick for youth with complex needs. In combination with the transition work by Dr. Shelley Doucet’s team at the Centre for Research in Integrated care at UNB, we hope to provide recommendations to decision-makers that will improve transition practice and inform potential healthcare policy.

What’s the motivation that drives you to help others and study in this field?

I worked with the NaviCare/SoinsNavi centre as a nurse patient navigator for children/youth with complex care needs and their families. A recurring theme with the families was their fear and uncertainty of what will happen when their child grows out of pediatric care. It is not only NB that struggles with this transition, but it is found to be a healthcare gap more broadly. This really is what sparked my interest in exploring this topic and working towards solutions to bridge the gap.

How has the pandemic impacted your studies and nursing career?

I feel fortunate that my studies have been able to continue with very few adjustments thanks to the faculty and staff at UNB. I have been an ICU nurse since graduating with my BN and spent the first summer of the pandemic working to help my colleagues during the initial outbreak. Since then, it has been mostly an attempt to navigate the changing policies while balancing my studies and work, and limiting the pandemic impact on my children.

Where do you hope to take your career in the future?

I continue to work towards a career in nursing that combines practice and research. I am fortunate that upon graduation and certification, I will have the opportunity to work as a nurse practitioner at the Centre for Research, Education, and Clinical Care for At-risk Populations (RECAP). Additionally, I will be starting doctoral studies in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University. I would love to further work in academia to impress upon other nursing students that you can engage in both clinical care and inquiry.

As a two-time UNB alumna, what do you enjoy most about studying in the faculty of nursing?

One of the best parts about studying nursing at UNB is the opportunity to engage in learning with faculty that are easy to approach and invested in your success. You are amassing critical knowledge and skills to help those at their most vulnerable and support from faculty and staff, as well as your peers, is essential. UNB has an excellent community of learning and one that I am proud to be a part of.