Dr. J. Renee Robinson


R.P.N., B.Sc.M.H., M.Sc., Ph.D. (Community Health)
Associate Professor, Psychiatric Nursing
Phone: (204) 727-9721
Fax: (204) 571-8568

Research Interests: Community health; psychiatric epidemiology; mental health services research; population health; psychosocial rehabilitation; psychiatric nursing; and rural health. Dr. Robinson’s research focuses on mental health services, with an emphasis on rural services and services for people with severe and persistent mental illness.

Psychiatric nursing has been part of life since childhood. My father was a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and I have been practicing as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse since 1978. After almost 40 years I am still excited and challenged by my work.

Prior to joining the faculty at Brandon University, I had extensive clinical experience in a variety of settings. I had also worked as a consultant at WESTARC, a Research Assistant at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and as Research Associate with College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba.

I started working at Brandon University in 1996. I chose Brandon University because of its’ pioneering work in psychiatric nursing education. The work is perfect for me because it is always challenging and always changing. Over the time I’ve been at Brandon University I’ve taught a variety of courses, primarily in the area of community health and psychiatric rehabilitation. I’ve also been fortunate to teach a range of students including students taking the BSc in Psychiatric Nursing entry to practice program, the BSc Mental Health and BSc Nursing post-diploma programs, and now the Master of Psychiatric Nursing program.

I have been successful in obtaining national scholarships in support of both graduate programs; was the founding Chair of the Research committee of the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Manitoba (CRPNM); received the CRPNM award for excellence in psychiatric nursing research; and was awarded the Registered Psychiatric Nurses of Canada Leadership Award in 2010. I’ve also been successful in obtaining national grant funding for research projects from bodies such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Canadian Population Health Initiative, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and Human Resources Social Development Canada. Findings have been presented at national and international conferences and published in journals such as the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry and the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. My research has been of interest to mental health policy makers and I believe the results have contributed to policy decisions in the province.

Completed research projects include: • Determinants of health of rural communities • Vicarious trauma and burnout: Effects of workplace stress and supports on Registered Psychiatric Nurses • Rural consumers perceptions of mental health services and other resources used following discharge from inpatient programs • Reliability of the Manitoba Mental Health Management Information System for research • Mental health service utilization and population mobility in Manitoba: A longitudinal analysis • Integrated supported housing: An evaluation of the Brandon Model.  More recent research projects include evaluation of a stigma-reduction strategy for the Mental Health Commission of Canada, and a study funded by HRSDC titled “Migration and homelessness: Supporting residence in the community of choice”. 

My doctoral thesis, titled “Rural mental health services for people with severe mental illness: Organization and effectiveness” involved: • Describing availability of community-based services, structure and functioning of these services and adaptations to suit the rural environment. Data was collected from existing documents and through interviews with key informants in nine rural health regions in Manitoba. • Describing consumer satisfaction with rural mental health services. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eighty consumers in nine rural health regions in the province. • Describing consumer quality of life, and identifying factors that contribute to quality of life, for rural consumers. A standardized quality of life survey using a wide range of domains was administered to the consumers interviewed for the previous objective.

I served as Department Chair from 2005 – 2008 and as Coordinator of the Master of Psychiatric Nursing from inception until 2016.  I also represented the Faculty of Health Studies and contributed to Brandon University through membership on a range of committees. I previously served on the Brandon University Senate, BU Board of Governors, BU Research Committee, BU Research Ethics Committee and Senate Research Committee. More recently I was involved as Co-Chair of the Brandon University Workplace Wellness Task Force.  I serve as referee for several journals.

I believe in service. I want to make a contribution to improving the world around me, however large or small. That contribution can be made by raising a healthy family, volunteering in the community or investing in the workplace. When I worked directly with mental health clients, my goal was to assist in any way I could. As a faculty member at Brandon University, I can make a different contribution by teaching people who will provide those services in the future and by conducting research that will contribute to quality mental health services.