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Christine L. Covell, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor, Principal Investigator CanNurse Research Program


About Me


Postdoctoral Training, University of Ottawa, Health Human Resource & Policy Research with the Canadian Health Human Resource Network 

PhD, University of Toronto,  Health Services Research (Faculty of Nursing)

MSN,  California State University, Long Beach, Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist 

BSN, California State University, Long Beach 


Canadian Institutes of Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship 

Canadian Health Human Resource Network Postdoctoral Fellowship 

Ontario Health Human Resource Research Network Postdoctoral Fellowship


Research Areas and Interests

Dr. Christine Covell is the principal investigator of the CanNurse Research Program, Creating Evidence to Inform Policy to Build and Strengthen the CANadian NURSing Workforce. The nursing intellectual capital (NIC) theory developed and tested by Dr. Covell during her doctoral studies guides the CanNurse Research Program. The NIC theory conceptualizes the contribution of nurses' human capital (knowledge, skills an experience) to the quality of care and and cost-related organizational outcomes. Innovative in its conceptualization, the NIC theory is used worldwide to guide research and teach graduate students about theory development and testing. Dr. Covell’s postdoctoral training and collaborations with social scientists from the fields of sociology, economics and management have extended her research program to include studies that explore the intersection of human capital, migration and gender on the employability of degree-prepared immigrants within the Canadian health workforce. Current research projects focus on building the workforce by facilitating the integration and retention of internationally educated nurses and international students in the health fields, strengthening the workforce by exploring mental health issues in nurses and their influence on the quality of care and human resource costs and updating the NIC theory and the construction of a questionnaire. For her research, Dr. Covell uses a range of study designs and analyses including mixed-methods, review methodologies and quantitative methods with advanced statistics. The findings from her research have implications for policy development at the regulatory, organizational and governmental levels.

Recent Research Projects (Selected)

Healthy and Productive Work Partnership Grant: Healthy and Professional Knowledge Workers: Examining the Gendered Nature of Mental Health Issues, Leaves of Absence & Return to Work Experiences from a Comparative Perspective. Role: Co-Investigator, Nursing Profession Lead, Partnership Executive Committee. Funding: Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada & CIHR Roadmap Accelerator Fund (RAF) in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada ($1,425000; 2018-2022)

Designed to Stay: Canadian-Educated International Students as Future Permanent Residents. Principal Investigator. Funding Agency: Social Science and Humanities Research Council. Insight Development Grant ($61,672; 2017-2019)

Systematic Review to Update Nursing Intellectual Capital Theory and to Develop a Comprehensive Measure. Principal Investigator. Funding Agency: University of Alberta Faculty Establishment Grant ($16,500; 2016-2019)


Dr. Covell is available to supervise graduate students who are interested in the issues that affect Canadian Nursing workforce and their implications for policy.

Current Trainees at the University of Alberta

Shamel Sands, PhD Student. Healthy Professional Knowledge Worker Partnership Trainee

Grace Shoyele, Masters Student. SOS: Compassion Fatigue and Labour and Delivery Nurses

Anu Adhikari, Masters Student. Surviving the Gap: Sources of Financial Support for Internationally Educated Nurses During the Professional Recertification Process

Laith Asad, Masters Student. Why they Stay: Factors that Support the Retention of Internationally Educated Nurses in Canada

Barbara Wong, Masters Student, Healthy and Productive Worker Partnership Trainee


Dr. Covell teaches N536 Public Policy and Nursing Leadership and N506 Program Planning.