Lorraine Thirsk, RN, PhD

Assistant Professor

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research Interests

Dr Lorraine Thirsk is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health Disciplines of Athabasca University. Her research aims to reduce suffering and improve quality of life for families living with health challenges by improving nurses’ relational practices and competencies in therapeutic conversations. Recently, this work has focused specifically on how cognitive and implicit biases impact fundamental and necessary nurse-patient relationships, therapeutic communication, and clinical judgment. This has led to an interest in racism and discrimination in healthcare and work on decolonizing nursing education. Three overarching questions guide her research program: What are nurses doing to support families (i.e., in adult acute care)? What could they be doing to support families? What individual and organizational factors facilitate or impede these independent nursing practices?

Personal profile

Dr Lorraine Thirsk is an associate professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines. She has worked as a registered nurse for over 20 years with early clinical experience in rural and urban areas, tertiary facilities and community care, nephrology, and palliative care. Her graduate education focused on advanced practice in family nursing and her teaching, research, and service continues to be heavily influenced by family systems theory and family nursing practices. In her program of research, Dr. Thirsk aims to improve quality of life and reduce suffering for families living with serious health challenges by improving nurses’ competencies in relational practice and therapeutic conversations. Presently much of this research focuses on nurses’ clinical decision-making and how bias and stigmatization affect nurse-patient relationships and, subsequently, patient and family outcomes. This research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods, from Gadamerian hermeneutics to natural language processing.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Calgary

… → 2009

MN, University of Calgary

… → 2005

BScN, University of Alberta

… → 2000

External positions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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