Indigenous Field School Evaluation

An investigating of the significance of a community led, wellness focused, land based field school that has been held in two remote First Nations communities for over ten years. The field school is a seven-day learning experience offered in partnership between the Wuikinuxv and Dzawada’enuxw Nations on the Central Coast of British Columbia and NIC Nursing program.

Project Dates: June 2017 – December 2018
Funding Amount: $2,454

I think the biggest thing nurses and community members learn is self-awareness, about conflicts in values and how to build relationships and understanding. Telling stories is affirming for people. The things nurses learn here is not just about Indigenous People but it impacts how they nurse with all people – it is good for everyone. We do the work together and everyone benefits – it is reciprocal – we all tell stories and we all learn.

Community participant

Project Summary

The investigation used Indigenous methodology to gather information during the field school experiences. Information was gathered through individual and group conversations with the main question being: What is significant about the field school experience for the participants and stake holders that can be useful for further curricular development? The main findings included information about the experiences of transformational learning for student participants affecting their values and practice; increased trust with health providers for community members generally and increased opportunities for recruitment of culturally effective nurses to work in the remote communities specifically.

Research Team

Joanna Fraser
Joanna Fraser, Lead Researcher
As a Nursing Instructor at North Island College, Joanna is engaged in a variety of inquiry projects that facilitate culturally safe and inclusive learning and practice environments with students, nurses, communities and Indigenous people.
Karen Mason
Karen Mason, Co-Researcher
Karen has been involved in health care since 1988 and has enjoyed a variety of nursing experiences prior to teaching at North Island College. She has taught all four years of the program and currently teaches Relational Practice and was the co-chair of the department.


Project Outcomes

This research helped us to understand the importance of and improve on the field school experiences, especially in the following areas:

  1. Importance of the Elder and the relationship of the Elder to the community
  2. Challenges related to the online portion of the course and logistics leading up to the field school
  3. Logistics during the field school especially the balance of structured and unstructured parts of the course
  4. Experiences of feelings of empowerment through developing reciprocal relationships between nursing participants and community members
  5. Transformational changes in the participants and the promotion of changes in the system
  6. The importance of focusing on community wellness and strengths
  7. The importance of time and support for reflection in learning and learning through relationships

This project also informed the successful grant application to expand the field school as an immersion learning experience for first year students and with Nuu-chah-nulth communities.


Joanna Fraser
Joanna Fraser, Lead Researcher