Skip to main content
Faculty Award for Graduate Students in the School of Nursing

Support School of Nursing Graduate Students

Graduate students in the School of Nursing are working on some of the most creative and impactful research in Queen’s Health Sciences. Here’s one example:

Polypharmacy is the use of five or more medications—a common phenomenon in the treatment of older adults. Polypharmacy can increase the occurrence of side effects, drug interactions, adverse drug reactions, and non-adherence.

Rianne Carragher is a School of Nursing PhD candidate and Nurse Practitioner working in long-term care facilities across PEI. After her maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were both diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, she developed a passion for helping older adults living with dementia. This, combined with her long-term care experience has allowed Rianne to see the impact these diagnoses have on individuals and their caregivers firsthand.

After witnessing the adverse effects polypharmacy had on her grandparents and patients, Rianne decided to participate in an antipsychotic deprescribing initiative within her care facilities. Though she found deprescription to be effective in some cases, other residents still struggled with responsive behaviours—specifically in the dementia population. Instead of ending her inquiry here, Rianne was motivated to further investigate treatments for her patients. She began a clinical trial on the efficacy of cannabinoids in addressing her patients’ cognitive needs. She found that for some patients, cannabis was a safer and more beneficial method for treating their dementia-provoked behaviours and psychological symptoms than the prescription of several pharmaceuticals—a discovery that though supported by existing literature, remains under-researched.

“School of Nursing graduate students continue to ask important questions that provide tangible enhancements to the lives of our vulnerable populations. Rianne’s work will no doubt prove beneficial to the quality of life of Canadians like her grandparents” writes Dr. Erna Snelgrove-Clarke, Vice Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Nursing. “Enhancing the care of those living in long-term care is a high priority in our Canadian health care system. Research efforts such as Rianne’s will prove to further improve quality of life and health outcomes of older persons.”

Support student-researchers like Rianne when you contribute to the Faculty Award for Graduate Students in the School of Nursing.