Claire Joseph, Nursing Student

Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

“My first clinical placement as a nursing student was on the obstetrical unit. It was eye opening for me to consider how two babies born on the exact same day, in the exact same hospital, would leave this place and never have an equal shot at life. Mechanisms that would determine the opportunities each baby would have were already at play, their gender, their skin tone or the family that they will be raised in, for example. These mechanisms, all outside of the babies’ control, would make it or break it for them. It wasn’t fair. We have all heard the phrase “life’s not fair.” Talents are not evenly dispersed through the genetic lottery and wellbeing is not evenly dispersed through our healthcare system.


I want to do something about one of these two things.


As a nursing student, I have learned about the different systems in our society that determine how healthy a person will be. I understand that in order to make healthcare fairer, we must disrupt the status quo and target these oppressive systems that cause people to be unhealthy. After volunteering for ARCASN (Atlantic Region - Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing), I decided to do my honours project on making healthcare fairer. I have met so many amazing nurses who were helping people and patients by influencing the policies around patient care. As part of my project, I am examining the systems and institutions that are not set up to serve all people. My research investigates access to sexualized violence services specifically for racialized students. Racialized people are often left out of academic research studies that inform the health services available. This creates unfair systems which are designed to serve only the dominant groups and may make services inaccessible. I hope that my research can improve people’s health by increasing access to important health services. We can make healthcare fairer, more accessible and more inclusive by ensuring our system is well set up to support all races, genders, abilities, ages and conditions, equitably.” - Claire Joseph, Nursing Student

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