Donna Wilson, RN, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Nursing


Professor, Faculty of Nursing
(780) 492-5574
4-381 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
11405 - 87 Ave NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 1C9




  • PhD (Educational Administration), University of Alberta (1993)
  • MN (Gerontology/Nursing Administration), University of Texas (1985)
  • BScN, University of Alberta (1981)
  • RN diploma, Royal Alexandra Hospital (1976)


My program of research focuses on health services utilization and health policy, although primarily in relation to aging and end-of-life care. I have undertaken a wide range of studies such as those focusing on: high users of hospitals, ageism, social isolation, bioethics and social values, acute delirium, location of death, the good death, home care utilization, home care client trends, long-term-care resident trends, health services use before and after admission to a nursing home, use of hospitals prior to death, linkages between chronicity and home care utilization, transitions in place of care in the last year of life, waiting for placement, and many others. I have conducted large population based studies and other quantitative studies, as well as many different types of qualitative studies, and mixed methods studies and many literature or systematic reviews. I have held and hold a number of regional, provincial, and national grants to facilitate my research.


I enjoy teaching, and place my student's work ahead of my own research and publications. I am actively sought as a supervisor for graduate and undergraduate honor's students, in part because of my varied research and practice background and wide-ranging research interests. Through employment in hospitals and long-term-care facilities, both in and outside of Canada, I have developed a wide range of clinical skills and knowledge. I continue to work in a large acute care hospital on a part-time casual basis as a staff nurse to maintain my acute care nursing knowledge and skills. I have expert knowledge and skills in cardiac/intensive care, medical/surgical nursing, gerontology, and palliative/end-of-life care. Gerontology was the primary focus of study in my Master's program, as I began to realize how little I knew about normal aging and the care needs of older persons. Health services administration was another focus in my Master's program as well as my PhD program. I have worked as a manager in hospitals and nursing homes, and have taught managerial courses. This managerial background, as well as concern about bioethics and nursing advancement are major contributors to my research program.


NURS 505 - Transforming Practice

The focus of this course involves theory and principles of transformative change related to individual performance, multidisciplinary teams, organizational processes, policy, and teaching / learning / pedagogy. Graduates are prepared, in advanced nursing practice roles, to lead individual, team, organizational, and system change in a healthcare or educational setting.

Fall Term 2020

Browse more courses taught by Donna Wilson


Current end-of-life care needs and care practices in acute care hospitals
Author(s): Thurston AJ, Wilson DM, Hewitt JA
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Nursing Research and Practice

Age-based differences in care setting transitions over the last year of life
Author(s): Wilson DM, Hewitt JA, Thomas R, Mohankumar D, Kovacs Burns K
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research

Home care developments in the Canadian province of Alberta with regionalization
Author(s): Wilson DM, Birch S, Cohen J, MacLeod R, Mohankumar D, Williams A
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Global Journal of Health Science
Volume: 3
Page Numbers: 3-8

"No one dies of old age": Implications for research, practice, and policy
Author(s): Wilson DM, Cohen J, Birch S, MacLeod R, Mohankumar D, Armstrong P, Froggatt K, Francke A, Low G, McCormack B, Hollis V, Williams A.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Journal of Palliative Care
Volume: 27
Page Numbers: 148-156

Upstream thinking and health promotion planning for older adults at risk of social isolation
Author(s): Wilson D, Harris A, Hollis V, Mohankumar D
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: International Journal of Older People Nursing