Thompson Rivers University

Research explores health of Syrian women during resettlement

October 16, 2019

Jessie Bauer, Master of Nursing

Jessie Bauer’s Master of Nursing (MN) experience at TRU was transformational.

When she graduated from TRU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2015, Bauer knew she eventually wanted to continue her education, so when TRU opened its Master of Nursing program in 2017, she was one of the first students to apply.

This week, Bauer became the first student to successfully defend a thesis in the program, marking the completion of an educational journey that took her to unexpected places, and changed her life for the better.

Bauer’s research explores Syrian refugee women’s perspectives of their mental health and well-being during their resettlement period in Canada. Refugees face overwhelming stress during resettlement, which can contribute to the development of poor physical and mental health. To gain these unique insights, Bauer conducted in-depth interviews with Syrian women, and she hopes the findings from her study will inform culturally safe mental healthcare services and healthy public policy.

“I got to spend hours with really lovely women and learn of their struggles and experiences, and I got to experience the strength of these women, and learn how compassionate and strong they are,” she said

As a researcher, Bauer aims to create new knowledge that brings enhanced understanding to healthcare. As a student, Bauer was driven to ask these questions because she experienced a gap in her own understanding.

“I come from a very small community,” said Bauer, who grew up in Fort St. John. “When I was growing up there wasn’t a lot of diversity in our community. I am a more well-rounded person coming out of this program, and that’s what I loved about the research process. I was able to look at my personal biases and viewpoints, and examine how I’ve grown with my experience.”

What she discovered through her research, and through the time she spent with Syrian women, was that despite such different enthocultural backgrounds, “everybody seeks connection and understanding.

“Inclusion in the wider community and belonging to social networks is so important for mental health and wellbeing,” said Bauer. “You can’t know what every person has been through and what struggles they are currently facing, but you might change the course of their day by acknowledging them and their personhood,” she said.

Currently, Bauer works as a medical and surgical nurse at Royal Inland Hospital.

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