Angel Wang
Angel Wang

#IamMGHresearch – Meet Angel Wang

#IamMGHresearch tells the story of our researchers. Meet Angel Wang, clinical resource leader at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH). Angel is the first-ever recipient of the Innovation and Dissemination Research Grant from the Nursing Research Interest Group, a part of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. Angel was awarded this grant to fund her research initiative titled, “An education intervention to improve attitudes towards dementia and sense of competency in dementia care among nurses in acute care settings: A mixed-methods study” at MGH. This is Angel’s story.

“Growing up, my mom wanted me to go into politics so that I could implement positive change and help people. I chose to become a nurse for that very reason. Nursing allows you to help and care for people while also getting involved in research that can result in real policy and practice changes that are evidence-based.

I went to Ryerson University for nursing school and came to MGH as a nursing student in the ICU. I applied to be an RN in NRT after my placement and moved to the cardiology department where I eventually became the interim supervisor. Part of the reason why I was so attracted to MGH is because of the closeness between staff and leaders and because there is room for growth and opportunity. Our leaders are on the frontlines and are always accessible to listen and engage with nursing staff. I also really liked that as a smaller hospital, we offer a cohesive closeness to our community.

I decided to do my Masters in Nursing while working at MGH and specialized in research, leadership and education. I had been passionate about research since my undergrad so it felt like a natural fit to further my education in it and also engage in research at the hospital. I am ambitious about MGH’s research program and about getting our name out there.

For my research project, I am working with a great team made up of my colleagues, Rosie Sears, behavioural specialist and Winnie Lam, staff RN at the hospital. With the funding from the grant, we are developing a 4-6 week virtual dementia care education program for acute care nurses. Acute care focuses on managing acute illnesses. However, acute care nurses do provide care to patients who have been diagnosed with dementia which is a chronic, progressive condition that requires a different type of nursing care and approach. For nurses, difficulties in interpreting a patient’s experiences, behaviours, wishes and needs, as well as in communicating with them, can lead to poor outcomes such as stress, burnout, emotional withdrawal and ethical conflicts. Without being adequately equipped with the education and training to provide person-centered dementia care, negative attitudes can emerge. This patient population can be viewed as ‘difficult’ to care for – and we want to change that perspective.

Our education program is informed by the philosophies of humanism and personhood and will aim to increase a sense of competency of acute care nurses in dementia care while also improving their attitudes towards dementia. Our hope is to roll out this program by the fall. I’m excited to see what this program will do for our nurses and I hope that it also encourages nurses to get involved in research – we have the opportunity to make real change.”

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