Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing

Memorial University's Faculty of Nursing launched its Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing program in September 2013.

The aim of the program is to educate our next generation of nurse researchers and scholars as leaders in nursing practice, education, research, administration, and policy.

The PhD program will influence nursing practice, improve care, and promote positive patient/client outcomes.

The next entry to the PhD program is September 2026. Applications are due by January 31 2026.

Program Overview

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is offered in areas reflective of the strength and expertise of current faculty members in the Faculty of Nursing. All students are required to be on site in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for the first six semesters (i.e., two academic years).  The program's curriculum consists of a minimum of six courses, two internships, graduate seminars, and a dissertation.

Faculty Profiles

The following faculty members may be available to act as supervisors or co-supervisors. 

Karen Parsons, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Rush), RN 

Dr. Parsons' research expertise is in the area of aging and the older adult. Although she is interested in many aspects of healthy aging, she is primarily interested in the older adult's experience with age-associated memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.

Dr. Parsons is also interested in the area of family care giving for the older adult especially families caring for frail older adults and those with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. She is currently planning to explore innovative teaching strategies with undergraduate students as a means to increase interest and improve attitudes toward caring for the older adult. Methodologically her expertise is in qualitative research, particularly hermeneutic phenomenology, but she also has experience in grounded theory. 

Kimberly Jarvis, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Alberta), RN

Kimberly Jarvis 

Kimberly has been engaged in nursing education and research in Qatar, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Canada for more than 10 years. Her clinical practice is community/public health. She joined the Faculty of Nursing at Memorial University in 2018. Her research focuses on the intersection of culturally entangled practices and gendered roles that have marginalizing consequences for women, particularly upon a woman’s sexual and reproductive health. She endeavors to understand, measure and evaluate these issues so to effect change in health care practice and social policy. Kimberly conducts her research in both a Canadian and sub Saharan African context employing critical qualitative approaches. 

April Pike, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Memorial), RN

Dr. Pike's program of research and practice are in the field of genetics and risk, simulation and cardiovascular disease.  She has been involved in several studies related to the psychosocial aspects of living with genetic conditions, including arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and familial colorectal cancer type X (FCCTX).   

Dr. Pike has received grants from several funding agencies including Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) Office of the Public Engagement, MUN School of Nursing (MUNSON), Association of Registered Nurses, Atlantic Regional Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, Newfoundland and Labrador Healthy Aging Research Program and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  She is currently the Co- Principal Investigator on a research project (MUN Seed, Bridge and Multidisciplinary Fund) dealing with fostering success on the NCLEX-RN, as well as a Co-Investigator on a Teaching and Learning Grant involved in exploring the integration of high fidelity simulation into the undergraduate nursing curricula.      

Dr. Pike has expertise in qualitative health research methods, grounded theory and phenomenology.       

Joy Maddigan, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Calgary), RN

Dr. Maddigan’s research interests are interdisciplinary, primarily practice-based and focused on mental health and illness; particularly the quality of life and recovery outcomes for those who suffer from early psychosis. Using mixed methods approaches to better understand the recovery milestones and experiences of individuals and families, Joy’s research goals include fostering a greater understanding of the therapeutic work of psychiatric mental health nurses and the impact of their work on the health of the population.

Joy is currently concluding a pilot study that examined the feasibility of implementing a ten-year follow up study of individuals and families who participated in the early psychosis program of Eastern Health. Applications for funding the long term study are being explored. In addition development work is underway on a study to examine the effect of an illness beliefs intervention on the short term recovery outcomes of individuals who have experiences a first episode of psychosis. Involving clinical nurses in research on nursing practices is a developing but important part of Joy’s emerging program of research.    

Julia Lukewich, BNSc (Queens), PhD (Queens), RN

twitter: @jlukewich

Dr. Lukewich is a leader in her field of research, which is focused on improving delivery of primary healthcare across Canada through the optimization of family practice nursing within team-based models of primary care. Her program of research is supported by a number of provincial and national research grants, including several from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She is leading a variety of research projects concentrated on better understanding which organizational strategies best support the integration and optimization of nursing within primary care, with a particular focus on chronic disease management.

Many of her research projects involve close collaboration with community and government partners in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada. Most notably, Dr. Lukewich successfully led a pan-Canadian team of expert researchers and nursing leaders, in partnership with the Canadian Nurses Association, Canadian Family Practice Nurses Association, and the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing, in the development of national competencies for registered nurses in primary care. In June 2020, she began her tenure as President of the Canadian Family Practice Nurses Association, where she will provide a voice and mentorship for nurses in primary care across Canada, set and support the strategic direction of the association, and ensure excellence in governance.

Dr. Lukewich has expertise in quantitative research methods, including cross-sectional designs, systematic reviews, scoping reviews, and secondary data analysis. She has a strong record of publication and has been the recipient of several awards/recognitions acknowledging her academic impacts. Dr. Lukewich’s research has tremendous value for patients, healthcare providers, policy-makers, employers, and educators in our province and across the country. 

Ahtisham Younas, BN (Shifa College of Nursing), MN (Memorial), PhD (Memorial) 

Dr. Ahtisham Younas is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Nursing, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Ahtisham’s program of research has two streams.

The first stream focuses on developing nurses/nursing students’ caring and behavioural competencies (e.g., social justice, compassion, self-awareness, ethical sensitivity, ethical decision-making, and caregiving) to improve compassionate and person-centered care for marginalized and underserved populations such as immigrants and minority populations, individuals with homelessness, and 2SLGBTQIA+ populations.

The second stream focuses on understanding and addressing the impact of social and structural determinants on health and social care and self-management of the marginalized and underserved populations.

Ahtisham is a research methodologist with expertise in mixed methods, Q-methodology, implementation science, advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies, scoping, integrative, mixed methods, and qualitative research reviews.

He engages in global health, social, and nursing research and has collaborated on a wide range of projects in Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Colombia, Australia, Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Ahtisham has an extensive publication record with over 120 peer-reviewed empirical, theoretical, and review articles in top-tier clinical and methodological journals. He is ad-hoc peer reviewer for over 75 international journals and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Advanced NursingInternational Nursing Review, and BMC Medical Research Methodology. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Creative Nursing (a Sage journal), an Associate Editor for Heliyon Nursing & Health Professions (Cell Press-Elsevier journal), and Associate Editor for Humanities and Social Sciences Communication (Nature journal).

Kathleen Stevens, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Memorial) 

Kathleen Stevens

Kathleen Stevens’ program of research is focused on self-management and nursing education. She is particularly interested in preventative foot health and foot self-management interventions, and diabetes with the goal of preventing skin breakdown and devastating complications such as foot ulceration and amputation. Her interest in nursing education research is broad and includes Strengths-Based Nursing, teaching strategies, situational judgement testing and nursing admissions criteria, and peer mentoring. She is currently leading several funded research projects.

Stevens is a leader in foot health and diabetes at the provincial and national level. She is a member of the executive of the Newfoundland and Labrador Advanced Foot Care Special Interest Group. She has been involved with the Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses Association as a Board Member for six years. Dr. Stevens is involved in multi-disciplinary work as a member of Wounds Canada. Through this organization she is a member of the working group updating the Best Practice Recommendations for the Diabetic Foot, the Diabetic Foot Committee, and the Diabetic Foot Task Force.

Dr. Stevens is a mixed-methods and patient-oriented researcher with expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods. Dr. Stevens has a growing record of published articles both in local publications and in peer reviewed journals. Through her research and service she endeavors to impact health policy, implement knowledge translation initiatives that reduce diabetic foot complications, and improve nursing education and the student experience.  

Robin D. Burry, BScN (University of Ottawa), MN (USQ, Australia), PhD (University of Ottawa) 

Robin Burry

Robin D. Burry is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In her 23 years as a registered nurse, she has held a variety of clinical and administrative roles and been responsible for the implementation and evaluation of multiple system wide change initiatives. Her program of research focuses on new graduate nurses' transition to practice, their mental health and well-being, and associated supportive processes such as mentorship. Robin employs both qualitative and quantitative methods in her research and is the principal investigator of several funded projects focused on making connections between system processes and outcomes at the level of the organization, patient, and nurse. Robin welcomes the opportunity to mentor undergraduate and graduate students to assist them reach their nursing, research, and academic goals.

Expertise and areas of interest: New graduate nurses, transition to practice, mentorship, organizational and professional socialization, nursing recruitment, retention and recognition, qualitative and quantitative research methods, interpretive description, secondary data analysis, systematic reviews, quality improvement and program evaluation.