McMaster University

McMaster University

McMaster students encouraged to take on Health Innovation Challenge

By Amanda Boundris

September 10, 2012

Yvonne Tse and Eileen Hanna
Nursing student and previous Health Innovation Challenge winner Yvonne Tse, left, and Eileen Hanna, assistant professor of nursing, would like to see more McMaster nursing students enter this year’s Challenge. The contest officially launches September 10.

McMaster nursing student Yvonne (Yi Ki) Tse, a winner of the last Health Innovation Challenge, is encouraging other students to participate in the fourth annual nationwide competition that officially launches today.

"We are the future of the health-care system and it’s great if we can showcase what’s working well in Canada – not just innovative practices, but those producing results," said Tse, who is entering her third year of studies. "We could be initiating some of these kinds of initiatives or changes in the future – as managers or in working with our patients."

The aim of the Health Council of Canada’s Health Innovation Challenge is "to engage the next generation of leaders in the discussion on the future of health care." University and college students are asked to write about an innovative practice – an existing policy, program or service – that is improving health outcomes, and explain why it is working.

Last year Tse teamed up with Aaron Lau, a student in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, to produce their winning entry on a Mississauga program called Nurse Practitioners Supporting Teams Averting Transfers (NPSTAT). The program coordinates care for seniors between long-term care facilities and hospital emergency rooms, resulting in fewer unnecessary visits to the emergency room and helping to reduce emergency wait times for the community.

Through her research and writing on the topic, Tse said she learned more about nursing research, the health-care system, and the impact nurses have on health care. She added that it was a good lesson in collaboration and integration of care, in that she saw the different perspective her partner brought to the table.

"The Challenge is a great learning experience," said Tse. "It’s not whether you win or not, it’s the journey to get there that’s important."

Tse was awarded the top prize of $1,000 and was also given the opportunity to apply for a paid internship with the Health Council of Canada. She worked there this past summer and just had the internship extended through the school year.

In her role she provided resource support for an upcoming integrated care symposium; did environmental scans; improved her research skills through learning new software; and was heavily involved in a number of other projects.

"I learned a lot about myself as a nurse and it was great exposure to decision-making, how policy is made, and how and why guidelines are put in place," said Tse.

Eileen Hanna, an assistant professor of nursing who taught Tse last year, said nursing students should "take a chance" and enter the Challenge.

"By second-year, it’s a culmination of so many things that they’ve learned already – literature review, evidence-informed decision-making, application of the nursing process, and writing skills," said Hanna. "And, applying to a Canada-wide contest like this is a similar process to what researchers use, so it’s good exposure."

The deadline for submissions is Jan. 18, 2013. Monetary prizes will be awarded for the top three entries in both group and individual categories, and winners will be invited to apply for a paid summer internship at the Health Council of Canada office in Toronto. Winning submissions will also be published.

Visit for full contest guidelines.

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