Media Releases

Book honours U of T nursing research pioneer

May 6, 2011

TORONTO, ON – In honour of Dr. Linda O’Brien-Pallas’ retirement, the Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing is publishing a festschrift composed as a tribute to her many accomplishments in the field of nursing human resources. She is acknowledged globally for her pioneering and innovative research in health human resources modeling, quality of work life for nurses and nursing workload measurement.

Twenty years ago, O’Brien-Pallas was one of the first academics to answer the call for more knowledge regarding nursing workload, staffing, planning and efficiency. At the time, there was no method, discipline or empirical foundation to build upon; she helped establish the groundwork, leading the way for researchers to comprehend these critical issues and shape the direction of the health care system.

“Linda truly led the way in this field, opening doors for the next generation of health human resource scholars,” says Sioban Nelson, professor and dean of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. “It was a privilege to work with such an extraordinary academic and researcher, and a pleasure to join Linda’s friends and colleagues in acknowledging her notable accomplishments in the Faculty’s first festschrift.”

In 2010, professor O’Brien-Pallas stepped down from her co-directorship of the Nursing Health Services Research Unit (NHSRU) at the Bloomberg Faculty and ended her term as the inaugural Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) / Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) national chair, nursing health human resources. As a festschrift honours someone whose academic work has had a major influence on a field of study, it seemed a fitting to tribute to mark the end of an influential career and an excellent opportunity for the Faculty to spearhead a knowledge translation initiative.

Mapping the field: Nursing scholarship in health human resources is a review of O’Brien-Pallas’ scholarly contributions and of the nursing field as a whole, putting her career in perspective. She was a driving force of the new direction for nursing science in Canada. The powerful alliances she created between stakeholders, decision-makers and the scientific community led to a series of important studies that shaped the nursing health human resources field. In 1990, O’Brien-Pallas established the NHSRU with co-director Dr. Andrea Bauman, which became an internationally recognized centre for multidisciplinary research on health human resources and quality of work life for nurses.

The book is an edited collection of papers from the spring 2010 festschrift in honour of O’Brien-Pallas that brings together the perspectives of leading scholars from around the world. Her pioneering work in nursing human resources provides a starting point to a broad discussion of the issues and emerging trends in health human resources. Each paper was written specifically for this festschrift and offers a unique view of the establishment of this field. From doctoral students to colleagues, mentors and admirers, this text maps the evolution of a new area of inquiry and the trajectory of a stellar career.

The Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto ranks among the premier nursing programs in the world in both education and research. In 2007, ours became the first named faculty of nursing in Canada. We are committed to ensuring the approximately 650 students in our undergraduate, masters and PhD programs have the highest quality learning experiences. Moreover, with a Faculty comprised of the country’s leading nurse researchers and educators, major contributions to knowledge, health policy and future practice are produced regularly.




Contributors to the festschrift include:

  • Sean Clarke, associate professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and inaugural RBC Chair in cardiovascular nursing research, University Health Network (Peter Munk Cardiac Centre) and Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing;
  • Diane Doran, professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and scientific director of the NHSRU;
  • Christine Duffield, acting associate dean (research) and director of the Centre for Health Services Management, Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Technology in Sydney, Australia;
  • Laureen Hayes, research associate for the CHSRF/CIHR chair in nursing health human resources, currently working in the NHSRU;
  • Barbara Mildon, doctoral graduate of the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and president-elect of the Canadian Nurses Association;
  • Sioban Nelson, dean and professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and chair, Council of Health Sciences; and
  • Judith Shamian, president and CEO of VON Canada (Victorian Order of Nurses), professor, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, and president of the Canadian Nurses Association (2010–12);


To download a copy of Mapping the field: Nursing scholarship in health human resources, please visit our website.


For more information, please contact:

Sarah Gopaul
Communications Assistant
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
University of Toronto