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Rising researcher

By Michelle Osmond

School of Nursing student Gina Colborne has been chosen for a national training opportunity that will take her to Winnipeg, Man. in the fall.

The third year Bachelor of Nursing student was picked for the Rising Researcher Support Program, one of four training awards with the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP).

The Rising Researcher Support Program gives those who are training towards certification as a child health clinician an opportunity to engage in research career planning.

The nomination came about this summer when Ms. Colborne worked as a research assistant under the Summer Undergraduate Research Award (SURA). SURA, offered by the Faculty of Medicine, offers some awards to medical students but a few are available to non-medical students, such as nursing or science, who are interested in research.

Researchers submit their abstracts and student applicants select the projects they are most interested in and, if chosen, work on that project for 12 weeks.
Ms. Colborne applied for, and received, a project with Newfoundland and Labrador's Provincial Breastfeeding Coalition Research Group, a position she’s very proud of.

Part of that project looked into why women choose not to breastfeed and their overall infant feeding decision-making process.

Ms. Colborne, who was nominated for the Rising Researcher program by her supervisors, says her interests in nursing have always leaned towards maternal and child health and during a maternity clinical placement she was exposed to a lot of new mothers.

“Some immediately chose to breastfeed while some did not even consider breastfeeding and went straight to formula feeding,” she explained. “I thought this was very interesting and jumped at the opportunity to work on research regarding breastfeeding in Newfoundland and Labrador. I learned a lot more about the benefits of breastfeeding and feeding decisions of new mothers.

"This knowledge and understanding can definitely be transferred to my clinical nursing practice.”

She says the Rising Research training program will no doubt benefit her career as well.

“It will be an opportunity to learn new research skills and keep up to date on pediatric research. It will also be a chance for me to network with other students and professionals who are working in research.

“I find research fascinating. There are so many research areas in which to become involved. I can't say for sure where I'll be in five years or what exactly I'll be doing, but I know research will definitely be a component of my future career.”

The CCHCSP is a national network of 13 Canadian Child and Youth Health Research Centers dedicated to training the next generation of clinician-scientists of which Memorial University is a part.

In October, Ms. Colborne will travel to Winnipeg for the CCHSP’s 8th Annual National Symposium, Clinician Scientists: Master Collaborators, where she’ll attend workshops and presentations on pediatric research and meet other trainees from across the country.