Building and sustaining a postgraduate student network: The experience of oncology nurses in Canada

Jacqueline Galica, Karine Bilodeau, Fay Strohschein, Tracy L. Powell, Leah K. Lambert, Tracy L.O. Truant


Networking with individuals on a similar journey through graduate studies has been identified as an important influence in the experience of doctoral and postdoctoral students. Through the Board of Directors of the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology/Association canadienne des infirmières en oncologie (CANO/ACIO), student members were encouraged to establish a Doctoral Student Network (DSN) that would enable a connection through education and common interest in oncology and cancer care. Since its inception, the DSN has been dynamic in how it has addressed the evolving needs of members and in providing development opportunities to group members. To uncover and describe key aspects of its evolution, a document analysis was undertaken to reveal themes pertaining to capacity development and leadership voice as paths to leadership for DSN members. The results of this study suggest that the DSN provides a supportive environment for postgraduate nurses across Canada to connect with others in their peer group to foster engagement in educational, professional, and scholarly activities, as well as highlighting opportunities for other professional organizations interested in establishing a support network for graduate student members. 

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