University of Saskatchewan Master of Nursing student Nicole Edmundson. (Photo: Submitted)
University of Saskatchewan Master of Nursing student Nicole Edmundson. (Photo: Submitted)

USask graduate student focuses on maternal mental health research

Master of Nursing candidate Nicole Edmundson never thought of nursing as a career path until she graduated with a degree in psychology and was looking for options for work that intersected with her interest in mental health.

By College of Nursing,

After completing the University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Nursing Post-Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in 2018, she launched her nursing career with positions in Lloydminster, Alta. She started in general medical nursing and endoscopy before landing a permanent, full-time position in maternity nursing, where she is now celebrating five years.

Today, she has returned to USask’s College of Nursing to complete her master’s degree, while pursuing her interest in mental health in tandem with her expertise in maternal health. 

“I have always thought of mental health as something we need to learn about in society, that we misunderstand,” said Edmundson. “I don’t have kids, but I always thought, ‘if I was in that place, would I feel I would be able to reach out and get the help I need?’”

Following course work and careful development of a research proposal, Edmundson’s thesis focuses on maternal mental health supports, surveying pregnant and post-partum women about the resources they would value, particularly virtual resources, in supporting their perinatal journey.

In Lloydminster, a city that straddles the Saskatchewan and Alberta border, most current online options are offered through Saskatoon and Regina, so there may be a need for resources closer to home.

“Through my time working on the maternity ward, I know a lot of mental health issues are becoming more prominent and also more talked about, but we haven’t matched resources with that. I thought that would be great to research, to create those resources that don’t exist,” she said.

Alongside her research and nursing work, Edmundson also teaches at the USask College of Nursing distributed Lloydminster site, including instructing the therapeutic communications course and labs to undergraduate students. 

Edmundson’s long-term plans include returning to her hometown of Edmonton, and possibly more teaching, which she loves, although she said she is not ready to give up bedside nursing just yet.

As she develops her research, Edmundson said she has had a great thesis experience so far.

“Doing this work, it’s been amazing. My mentor is College of Nursing associate professor Dr. Hua Li (PhD), who has always been available to answer questions and help develop connections. She has my best interest in mind, and I truly couldn’t do this without her.”

May 6-12, 2024 is Canada’s National Nursing Week and Canadian Mental Health Association Mental Health Week.

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