Jan. 25, 2019

'Cancer is more than cells gone wrong,' says nursing researcher

50 Faces of Nursing: Nancy Moules, BN’95, MN’97, PhD’00

Dr. Nancy Moules, PhD, is a professor at the Faculty of Nursing, UCalgary and Kids Cancer Care Foundation Chair in Child and Family Cancer Care. She was admitted to the Order of the University of Calgary in 2013. Moules is also a co-founder and director of the Canadian Hermeneutic Institute and founder/editor of the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics.

What motivates your work and research?

“My research centres on the effects of childhood cancer on children, families, healthcare professionals and communities. I am driven to research in this area from the awareness that cancer is more than "cells gone wrong," that it has the capacity to infiltrate lives and relationships. By understanding the psychosocial and relational impact of it, we can offer support to families and help relationships ‘trump’ cancer!”

What’s an unforgettable experience from your time at UCalgary Nursing?

“I was teaching an undergraduate class in family nursing and had posted a quote of something I had written about family. Later, I received an email from a student in the class asking if she could use the quote to get a tattoo. I ran into that student later and she allowed me to take a photo of her tattoo and to use the photo for a talk. In that talk, I discussed how I disliked grading students, but truly wanted to mark them, to make a mark on them in their learning, their passion, and their practice. I also talked about how students mark me over time.”

Is there a nursing issue you are passionate about or would like to change?

“Nursing is not simply a practice profession, though it is that. It is, however, an academic discipline with strong roots in philosophy and research. I blend my love of hermeneutic philosophy with my research and see myself and others in this profession as skilled in both.”

Your advice for aspiring nurses?

“Words are powerful. They can be instruments of healing. Choose your words carefully, kindly, and intelligently, and realize that they may affect people in ways far beyond what you intended.”

Making life better for Calgary families and beyond

In his nomination, colleague Andrew Estefan, associate professor, UCalgary Nursing says, “Dr. Moules's research has changed the lives of young people and families who have been affected by childhood cancer. She is internationally recognized as an expert in philosophical hermeneutics.

“She has cultivated strong clinical and community partnerships, been generous in making opportunities for colleagues (like myself) to develop and extend our own scholarship, and she has always done this with an eye on making life better for Calgary families and beyond.” 

All through 2019, we'll be highlighting 50 Faces of Nursing and profiling nursing members in celebration of our 50th anniversary. If you know someone noteworthy (faculty, staff, alum, students, partners, etc.) who you would like us to feature, tell us more with this short online form. For more, visit nursing.ucalgary.ca/50