Oct. 18, 2023

AHS associate chief nursing officer says DN program has been a great investment in herself

Fadumo Robinson, associate chief nursing officer of Alberta Health Services, shares how UCalgary's Doctor of Nursing program and focus on leadership has relevancy and application to her role
Fadumo Robinson
Fadumo Robinson, Associate Chief Nursing Officer of Alberta Health Services and current Doctor of Nursing graduate student

Fadumo Robinson, associate chief nursing officer of Alberta Health Services, has some advice for anyone considering UCalgary Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing [DN] program: “go for it!" 

“From my perspective, if you are seeking a relevant, applicable, accessible doctoral level education to enhance your already established leadership career and to inspire you as a leader, this is the program,” she says about the graduate degree launched in January 2023. “I consider this one of the best investments I have made in myself.” 

That’s saying a lot considering the vast education and experience Robinson has had in her career, a career that began in family violence prevention and corrections over 25 years ago. With degrees in criminology, social work and nursing, Robinson calls herself a lifelong learner, always exploring both formal and informal pathways to increasing knowledge. 

“After finishing my Master’s of Nursing in 2012, I knew I was not done, but I never found a program that met all my needs until this DN program,” she says, explaining that the relevancy and the applicability to her role in a large and dynamic organization and to today’s complex health-care system offered her exactly what she was seeking. 

As an Edmonton resident with a partner and two university-aged children, Robinson calls the flexible delivery of the program a true game-changer.  

“At this stage in my career, I could not have taken several years off to complete my studies, so finding a Canadian doctoral program that was designed for those who are already in leadership was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.” 

Despite her constant desire to expand her knowledge, Robinson was still apprehensive starting the program. “What would the content be like: would it allow me to merge my worlds, could I translate my learning to my work? Would I be able to manage my heavy workload with a doctoral level study?” she questioned. Her anxiety was soon set aside. 

“I will never forget what Dr. Davidson [UCalgary Nursing dean and one of the educators in the program] said at the end of our first class: ‘We are here to support you and suffering is optional.’ That sums up the culture of the DN program. We have an amazing group of leaders from coast to coast, we are supportive of each other and we learn from each other.” 

The diversity and talent of her eight classmates Robinson calls incredible. "They are leaders that come from all backgrounds, settings and corners of this country. I learn as much from them as I learn from the course content.” 

Robinson says she has also been surprised by theories and concepts in nursing of which she was unaware. “I felt as though I have been under a rock: how come I haven’t come across these theories and this knowledge before? It is really a testimony to the careful selection of the relevant, rich and applicable content of this program. I have many learnings to list, but the main ones are around innovation in a human-centred environment.” 

The decision between the advanced doctoral degrees of DN and PhD can be tough and Robinson admits to struggling with it. “Ultimately, this is a personal decision based on where you would like to take your career, but the DN learning experience will leave you inspired and enriched.” 

UCalgary Nursing's Doctor of Nursing program is aimed at developing nurse leaders and innovators with significant leadership experience (minimum of three years) for senior roles in health care and related organizations. Students will be provided with knowledge and skills to advance health systems by designing and implementing innovations and evaluating outcomes.

The Doctor of Nursing is a graduate degree program requiring a work-integrated research project. The online structure of the program will allow students to complete the program with flexibility while continuing to work. The program may be completed in as little as three years.

Applications for January 2025 admission will open June 1, 2024 - September 1, 2024. Please contact the Nursing Programs Office prior to applying to meet with a Program Specialist.