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Donna Wilson, RN, PhD



About Me


  • PhD (Educational Administration), University of Alberta (1993)
  • MN (Gerontology/Nursing Administration), University of Texas (1985)
  • BScN, University of Alberta (1981)
  • RN diploma, Royal Alexandra Hospital (1976)


My program of research focuses on health services utilization and health policy, although primarily in relation to aging and end-of-life care. I have undertaken a wide range of studies such as those focusing on: high users of hospitals, ageism, social isolation, bioethics and social values, acute delirium, location of death, the good death, home care utilization, home care client trends, long-term-care resident trends, health services use before and after admission to a nursing home, use of hospitals prior to death, linkages between chronicity and home care utilization, transitions in place of care in the last year of life, waiting for placement, and many others. I have conducted large population based studies and other quantitative studies, as well as many different types of qualitative studies, and mixed methods studies and many literature or systematic reviews. I have held and hold a number of regional, provincial, and national grants to facilitate my research.


I enjoy teaching, and place my student's work ahead of my own research and publications. I am actively sought as a supervisor for graduate and undergraduate honor's students, in part because of my varied research and practice background and wide-ranging research interests. Through employment in hospitals and long-term-care facilities, both in and outside of Canada, I have developed a wide range of clinical skills and knowledge. I continue to work in a large acute care hospital on a part-time casual basis as a staff nurse to maintain my acute care nursing knowledge and skills. I have expert knowledge and skills in cardiac/intensive care, medical/surgical nursing, gerontology, and palliative/end-of-life care. Gerontology was the primary focus of study in my Master's program, as I began to realize how little I knew about normal aging and the care needs of older persons. Health services administration was another focus in my Master's program as well as my PhD program. I have worked as a manager in hospitals and nursing homes, and have taught managerial courses. This managerial background, as well as concern about bioethics and nursing advancement are major contributors to my research program.