Nursing student Kandice Power never considered herself a great writer.
So when she received notice that her essay, originally prepared for Dr. Sandra MacDonald’s class, Nursing Leadership and Management, had won first prize in the Jack Boan National Student Essay Competition, undergraduate category, she was a little surprised.
The competition is sponsored annually by the Justice Emmett Hall Memorial Foundation to foster and celebrate research in health policy, health economics and health services at the undergraduate and graduate level.
“I feel incredibly proud,” said Ms. Power, a fast-track student in the home stretch of her degree who wrote about the lack of universal access to the abortion pill Mifegymiso in Newfoundland and Labrador, and across many Canadian provinces. “It’s such a timely issue, and in the news, and I was really drawn to this topic.”
Her essay, Universality and Comprehensiveness of Medical Abortion Procedures in Canada, argues that, while Mifegymiso has been approved for use in Canada for a number of years, many provinces and territories have yet to commit to full coverage through their respective medical insurance plans.
“Mifegymiso is the treatment of choice for a medical abortion — therefore health insurance to cover this medication should be available to all women,” Ms. Power writes in her essay, which will be published on the Justice Emmett Hall Foundation website.
Call to action
The abortion issue has captured headlines around the globe recently, with the defeat of Irish abortion legislation that forbids abortion under most circumstances and forces many women to travel outside the country to have the procedure.
“This is what happens when you act on the issues that you are passionate about.”
While Ms. Power’s essay focus is not as sensational, the Canadian and Irish issues both touch on the fundamental principle of reasonable access to health-care service. In Canada, this is guaranteed under the Canada Health Act.
“This is what happens when you act on the issues that you are passionate about,” said Dr. MacDonald, who encouraged Ms. Power to submit the essay for competition.
“Kandice’s essay is a call to action for all registered nurses in Canada to ensure equal access to medically necessary procedures. She has shown us all how to be advocates for change.”
It’s the second time in recent years that a Memorial School of Nursing student has won the Jack Boan essay competition. In 2015 Andrea Crowe received the award for her essay about access to physician-assisted suicide and published an article on the topic in ARNNL ACCESS magazine.