April 26, 2024

Second annual storytelling competition at UCalgary Nursing celebrates the untold stories of nursing

Meet the 10 nurses who will take the stage at the 2024 Nursing Story Slam on May 9
2024 Nursing Story Slam presenters
Clockwise from top left: N. Chen, T. Clancy, J. Dorman, M. Brockway, J. Eyford, L. Venturato, K. Stelfox, L. Rutter, J. Rempel, D. Patterson.

Talk to any nurse and you’ll realize quickly they each have plenty of stories to tell. Stories about people, love, pain, suffering, grief, relief, depression, appreciation, regret, health, illness, death and more. All of these stories matter but often go untold. 

Storytelling is a powerful way to engage, spark curiosity and a live story slam is an event that celebrates narrative performance where participants share brief stories with audiences. In recent years, nursing schools like Penn Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University College of Nursing have adopted and hosted popular Nursing Story Slams. UCalgary Nursing followed their lead and hosted its inaugural Nursing Story Slam in 2023. It returns this year for National Nursing Week on May 9. 

Associate Dean (Research) Nancy Moules is the co-lead, organizer and coach of UCalgary’s Nursing Story Slam. “Oral storytelling will always have a place and a purpose. A story slam offers presenters a short period of time to share a powerful short memory, reflection or experience in front of a live audience,” says Dr. Moules, PhD. “Last year’s stories were engaging, entertaining, touching and memorable.”

A story slam is not like an academic presentation — it is a performance and requires a different way of thinking, presenting and skills. To that end, on April 13, the 10 presenters for this year’s Nursing Story Slam were coached by digital storytelling expert Dr. Mike Lang, PhD’22, and spoken word poet Dr. John Williamson.

Kate Wong Story Slam

Kate Wong BN'12 was a 2023 Nursing Story Slam presenter.

Marc Hall, co-lead and organizer of Nursing Story Slam, adds, “After the success of our inaugural story slam last year, we’re excited to host it again and make this an annual event. Being able to bring our nurses together and to hear their personal, heartfelt and inspiring stories shows the depth and breadth of the nursing profession.”

Kate Wong, BN’12, doctoral candidate in nursing and president and chair of UCalgary Alumni Association (UCAA), was one of the participants last year. 

“I loved being a part of the Nursing Story Slam last year,” she says. “I thought it was an innovative and engaging way to talk about my work and research to a wide range of audiences. The slam workshop taught me about storytelling and performance, which is something any academic can benefit from. 

“There is a story for everyone at the Slam, and you don’t have to be a nurse to appreciate the vulnerability and thought that goes into these performances."

"My friend who is a professional poet, and well-versed (pun intended) in poetry slams, loved the Nursing Story Slam!”

2024 storytellers

Dr. Merilee (Meredith) Brockway​ BN'04, PhD'19

Dr. Merilee (Meredith) Brockway​ is a registered nurse, a lactation consultant and an assistant professor with expertise in human milk composition, infant feeding, and maternal-child health outcomes. Merilee’s program of research examines donor human milk as a clinical intervention to mitigate early life perturbations to the infant microbiome and how these relate to child health outcomes.

Nicole Chen BN'09

Nicole is a public health RN who enjoys direct client and community nursing care. Her various community health roles have included working as an assistant head nurse with the Alberta provincial Communicable Disease Control team and at a COVID immunization clinic. She has also worked as a staff public health RN with Alberta’s school health nursing programs, well child health clinics, refugee health services, and notifiable disease and outbreak control. 

Tracey Clancy BN'97, MN'08

Dr. Tracey Clancy is a tenured, associate professor (teaching) and has been a nurse for 36 years. She has practiced in oncology, hematology, bone marrow and stem cell transplant, in addition to an advanced nursing practice role within the Advanced Vascular Access Service at the Foothills Medical Center. 

Jennifer Dorman BA'20, BN'07, PhD'24

Jennifer Dorman is a PhD graduand and current UCalgary Nursing sessional. She has been a hospice palliative care nurse for more than 15 years, working with both adult and paediatric populations. Had she not gone into nursing, Jennifer could see herself as either a thanatologist (someone who studies death and dying) or a storm chaser. 

Jennifer Eyford

As the Director of Mental Health, Addictions, and Outreach at The Alex, Jennifer brings more than 20 years of leadership, mental health, and addiction experience. Jennifer remains dedicated to frontline work, supporting AHS addiction and mental health programs on weekends. Pursuing her Doctor of Nursing degree, Jennifer seeks to deepen her understanding and impact in the field. 

Dave Patterson BN'08, MN'19

Dave Patterson is a registered nurse with experience throughout the lifespan. Entering the nursing profession as a student in his late 30s, to bedside care in the NICU during his 40s, and nurse educator in his 50s, Dave has provided care throughout the lifespan. He is an assistant professor (teaching) at UCalgary Nursing.

Juliana Rempel

Juliana is a passionate student with the goal of community nursing when she graduates from UCalgary Nursing. Although dealing with chronic illness, Juliana does not let this stop her from achieving her dreams and is passionate about sharing her story advocating for others going through similar illnesses.

Logan Rutter BN'15

Throughout Logan's career, he has worked as a special needs teacher, an immigration officer, ski patroller, and since graduating from UCalgary Nursing, an RN in the CVICU, main Foothills ICU, as a quarantine officer for PHAC, and currently as a critical care flight nurse in the Canadian Arctic.

Katherine Stelfox

Katherine Stelfox is a doctoral candidate at UCalgary Nursing and her research centres around older adults and long-term care. Katherine is an instructor for Nunavut Arctic College, where she teaches nursing research and gerontological nursing. Having completed her master’s degree in global health with a focus on health-care policy and economics, Katherine feels passionate about the intersectionality of policy, economics, and quality of care in long-term care facilities.

Dr. Lorraine Venturato 

Dr. Lorraine Venturato is an associate professor at UCalgary Nursing and the former Faculty of Nursing Chair in Gerontology. She has worked as a clinician, educator and researcher and her work is focused on enhancing quality of life and quality of care for older adults. She enjoys sleeping, taking photos of everyone until they tell her to stop, and writing poetry that no-one ever reads.

Register now to attend the second annual UCalgary Nursing Story Slam on May 9, 7-9 p.m. It’s free and open to the public and will be held at the Aloft Calgary University Hotel (2359 Banff Trail NW). Space is limited so you must register your attendance. A cash bar is available before the performances. Doors open at 6 p.m. and parking is free.