Fighting for Science

on April 11, 2018
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Lori Campbell is a student on the Master of Science in Nursing program

Finding time for volunteering can be tricky, particularly if you are working full time and doing Postgraduate study. Lori Campbell is in exactly that position. She has a day job as a nurse and she is at the point of completing a Master of Science in Nursing at UBC.

A self confessed ‘computer nerd’ at school, Lori has always had a passion for science that extended beyond her chosen profession. It finds scope in her current role, part of a team working to implement electronic health records across the lower mainland, which marries healthcare with statistics and computing, and her volunteer work as an organiser of the Vancouver March for Science.

Lori sees her role in the team as distinctive. “I see myself as a little Rosetta Stone, trying to work with experts to make these systems comprehensible and easy to use.”

 “Better information has great potential to improve the experience for patients and make the lives of medical professionals easier. One of the problems is that different parts of healthcare have their own homegrown systems. This can make it difficult when a patient has to get help from, let’s say, a rheumatologist, a family doctor and a home carer. The places where these services meet haven’t been smoothed, we’re hoping a better record system will smooth those edges.”

The desire to add wider knowledge was also behind her decision to return to study at UBC.

 “The expectation is that students have already spent time in clinical practice, so there’s a mixture of nurses who focus on specialist patient care and those in leadership or informatics roles. I personally appreciate that variety, because it means I can focus on topics that are relevant to my work.”

Lori is also keen to break down stereotypes of nursing that ignore the scientific side of nursing. “Colleagues have sometimes said to me ‘we don’t do science, we do caring’. I always challenge that. We employ the scientific method everyday, observing, measuring, testing, and modifying hypotheses. But I think those sorts of attitudes are part of more widely held opinion that sees science as laboratory work.”

It was this that encouraged Lori to get involved in organising the Vancouver March for Science. The inaugural March for Science took place on Earth Day, April 22, 2017 in hundreds of cities worldwide.  The goal of the marches is to celebrate the role science plays in everyday life to call for the use of evidence in making policy.

“The attitude of the new US Administration towards science, spurred the start of the marches, but the message, that science matters and we need to protect it, applies everywhere. That’s why I thought it was important to have something similar in Vancouver.”

Last year more than 1500 attended the march that ended at Science World. Despite that success there will be a few changes for 2018’s event.

“We learned from last year. There are lots of logistical challenges involved with organising a march and the distance can discourage people from attending.  We want an event that is completely accessible, so we decided this year to go with a rally instead. This means we can have speakers and displays explaining the importance of science to our everyday lives.

It makes me really sad that people choose not to embrace critical thinking and that people’s grasp of basic science is on the wane. We want to show that science plays a huge role in our everyday lives and influences society for good.”

If you want to find out more about the Vancouver March for Science:

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sciencemarchyvr/

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1205076389623366/

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Fighting for Science