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My Biography

 

 

 

Welcome to my bio. I am a world traveler, writer, international lecturer, and family nursing/family therapy consultant. On a personal note, I also very much enjoy being an aunt, great-aunt, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, and friend.

My Journey: to travel nationally and internationally contributing my knowledge about how to assist and heal families who are suffering with illness. In turn, I want to learn from other cultures about their marriage, family, health, and spiritual rituals and practices to help families heal from illness and pass on this knowledge. My goal is to visit 100 countries.

I believe that having being raised in a three generation home with a grandmother who suffered terribly with rheumatoid arthritis was my baptism to understanding the influence of chronic illness, and particularly chronic pain on our family. It also enabled me to learn as a young child about empathy and compassion for my grandmother as an illness sufferer. My grandmother was the center of our family but her chronic pain ruled all of us.

Perhaps from these childhood experiences, it is no surprise that I entered the health care profession of nursing. I graduated first with an RN, Calgary General Hospital, Calgary, Canada Afterward, I worked on a psychiatric ward in a general hospital and enjoyed this aspect of nursing tremendously. After a year, I returned to university to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Afterwards, I enjoyed my first teaching experience at my alma mater, the Calgary General Hospital.

But after just one year of teaching, decided to pursue a Masters degree where I could focus my interests on Mental Health-Psychiatric Nursing. Since there was no Masters Degrees in Nursing in Canada at that time (that is really dating myself), I headed to the United States for graduate studies. I thought it would be a lovely experience to be warm while obtaining a Masters degree so I chose the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii. This was my first experience at meeting people from many different countries and being a minority. It was a magnificent life experience on so many levels. My years of studying and working in Hawaii became a template for my love of learning about other cultures and traveling.

It was during my Masters studies that I was first introduced to marriage and family therapy. This provided a dramatic shift in my thinking and understanding about human problems and suffering. I now focused on the interaction and reciprocity between family dynamics and illness and engaged in relational practice. After 5 years in Hawaii, I yearned to learn more about families and illness, so embarked on doctoral studies at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA. My specialization was marriage and family therapy within the Child Development/Family Relationships Department.

After 7 years of living, studying, and working in the United States, I wanted return to my home and native land of Canada. I first joined the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary and taught young medical students about families and illness. I also had the wonderful opportunity to work in the Family Therapy Program, University of Calgary supervising students/therapists and consulting with families. After 4 years, I was recruited to the Faculty of Nursing to assist with establishing a Masters degree in Nursing. This opened the door for me to now combine my family therapy background with my original discipline of nursing.

While at the Faculty of Nursing, I established the Family Nursing Unit and was the Director for 20 years (1982-2002). It was a research and education unit that provided assistance to families suffering with serious illness. Over those 20 years, I was privileged to have worked with my colleagues Drs Wendy Watson, Dr Janice Bell, and Dr Nancy Moules as we strived to learn more about advanced practice in Family Systems Nursing (FSN). I also had the privilege of teaching and providing supervision to Masters/Doctoral students who were specializing in FSN.

In 2002, I embarked on a very different journey. After a very rewarding academic career, I retired from the University of Calgary after 27 years and began to accept invitations to lecture and conduct workshops in various countries about families and illness beliefs, and suffering, spirituality, and illness. It has been a remarkable 8 years. The life lessons, both professionally and personally have been transforming and enlightening.

I have co-developed the Illness Beliefs Model, the Calgary Family Assessment and Intervention Models, and I developed the Trinity Model.

Over the past 34 years, I've been very privileged to receive many requests to speak and have given over 300 presentations and workshops at national and international chronic illness, family health, family nursing, family therapy, oncology, palliative care, and spirituality and health conferences, universities, and hospitals.

In 2009, I completed my seventh and eight books Beliefs and Illness: A Model for Healing; and Nurses and Families: A Guide to Family Assessment and Intervention 5th Ed.

Presently, I serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Family Nursing; and Advisory Editor of the journals Families, Systems and Health, Member of the Canadian Nurses Association, and Approved Supervisor, Fellow, and Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

In 2002, I was bestowed a Professor Emeritus of Nursing, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I also received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Montreal, May 2008.

Dr Wright was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Montreal, Canada, 2008 and Linnaeus University, Sweden, 2012.

When not traveling the world about 6 months a year, I reside in Calgary, Canada. It is a very good life.


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