Mary Ellen Labrecque (October 28)

NP, PhD; Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Presenting on: Thursday October 28

Session Title: “The impact of COVID-19 on rural and remote Saskatchewan Nurses’ Mental Health” 

Session description: During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, healthcare workers were at high risk for infection and mental health concerns from a lack of awareness and preparedness, poor infection control measures, exposure to high-risk procedures, poor compliance with personal protection equipment, and exposure to unsuspected SARS patients (Chan-Yeung, 2004). Currently, nurses have been faced with similar problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is of particular concern in rural and remote locations as these areas lack resources and have increased staff shortages, leading to increased burnout and a strained healthcare system. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of COVID-19 on Canadian rural and remote nurses’ mental health and to facilitate sharing of COVID-19 knowledge among nurses. Newby et al. (2020) stated: “We believe that if Florence [Nightengale] had a Facebook or Twitter account, she would have been posting daily from the Crimean battlefield”.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To present the concerns of the rural/remote nurses on their mental health in the first months of the pandemic.
    2. To discuss the use of virtual simulation as a tool that educates and supports interprofessional team development addressing knowledge needs and the safety of team members.
    3. To inform the session attendees about the benefits and challenges of using social media to collect research data.

Speaker Biography: Dr. Mary Ellen Labrecque is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Nurse Practitioner Programs at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing. Dr. Labrecque’s research interests include rural and remote nursing practice, advanced practice nursing and the delivery of primary health care that addresses the unique determinants of health of a population. She has been involved in numerous local, provincial, national and international committees with a focus on advanced practice nursing. Her professional nursing practice experience includes acute, community, industrial and tertiary care in urban, rural and northern communities. As a Registered Nurse – Nurse Practitioner, she maintains a clinical practice in primary care.


Michelle Pavloff (co-presenter)

RN, MN, PhD(c); Research Chair, Rural Health, Saskatchewan Polytech

Michelle Pavloff is a registered nurse and rural health researcher. She is currently the research chair of rural health at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Nursing degree. She is currently a PhD candidate and teaches in the Saskatchewan Collaborative Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Michelle is the principal investigator of the FARMh Initiative. Her areas of research include patient oriented research, rural nursing, rural youth mental health, and farmer/rancher mental health. She is the past president of the Canadian Association for Rural and Remote Nursing. She resides with her family on a ranch in rural Saskatchewan.