Assistant Professor, University of Alberta
Kara Schick-Makaroff is one of the top researchers in the faculty of nursing at the University of Alberta. She is a prolific writer, having published 46 peer-reviewed papers, along with numerous chapters and conference abstracts.
“For me, research can guide and change the care we provide to people living with ongoing life-threatening illnesses and their families, as well as the health-care priorities and policies that shape this care.”
The significance of Kara’s research lies in its direct application to nursing practice settings. Her research is both clinician- and patient-driven, and the goal of her research is to enrich quality of life, enhance person-centred care and improve services for people living at home with chronic and life-limiting illnesses. Her research project, ePROKidney, is helping to enhance person-centred care in home dialysis across Alberta. This is the first federally-funded, nurse-led research project in home dialysis. The focus of her research is to present evidence on the outcomes of routine use of electronic patient-reported outcomes in kidney care. Patient-reported outcomes are quality of life self-assessments, and they help give voice to patients’ concerns and priorities.
“ePROKidney is helping us understand how to best support clinicians and administrators in routinely utilizing electronic patient-reported outcomes,” says Kara. “This is vital because patients’ reports on their quality of life should be routinely and fully integrated into shared decision-making about their care.”
Findings from the project are now being disseminated across all levels of kidney services decision-making, and Kara is leading the spread of this knowledge beyond Alberta. Kara has organized clinician workshops in Alberta Kidney Care North and South. She has been invited to speak at national and international conferences to present to multidisciplinary practitioners where they, too, are integrating patient-reported outcomes in clinical care. Kara is known as an exceptional instructor, having received the University of Alberta Nursing Graduate Students’ Association Prize for Excellence in Teaching (2016 and 2017). She guides and mentors trainees from undergraduate honours to PhD programs (nursing, medicine, rehab medicine) as a supervisor, advisor, committee member and mentor.
“An amazing thing about being a nurse is that you can choose from an array of research, teaching, practice and administrative possibilities,” says Kara. “Each offers the opportunity to place the patient and their family at the centre of health care.”