Dr. Jennifer M.L. Stephens

Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs
Assistant Professor


Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University


  • Ph.D. (Nursing) University of British Columbia
  • M.A. (History) Portland State University
  • BSN (Nursing) Washington State University
  • ADN (Nursing) Portland Community College
  • BA (History/Anthropology) University of Colorado

Scholarship & Research Interests:

  • Oncology (specifically haematological cancers in adults) and psychosocial oncology
  • Oncology nursing practice
  • History of nursing
  • History of oncology and of oncology nursing
  • Qualitative research (specifically interpretive description and phenomenology)
  • Patient experience (identity, personality, personhood, self/being/Being)
  • Nursing theory (epistemology and ontology)
  • Climate change impacts on nursing and health care (including environmental concerns around oncology nursing care)
  • Palliative and hospice care including Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)

Research Grants and Projects

  • Athabasca University Research Fund (ARF), (PI- Dr. Venise Bryan, co-I: G. Rempel and J. Stephens), 2020-2021
  • NSCBN Grant (PI- Dr. Kate Leslie, co-Is: S. Nelson, J. Shelley, C. Schiller, J. Stephens, K. Cook & S. Myles)
  • WNR-CASN Education Research Grant (PI-Jennifer Stephens, co=I: K. Leslie), 2020-2022
  • Athabasca University Research Incentive Grant (RIG), 2020-2023
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award- F. Banting/C. Best Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS-D) (2011-2016)
  • University of British Columbia, Four-Year-Fellowship (2009-2013)
  • Canadian Nursing Foundation, Dr. Ann Beckingham Award (2011-2012)
  • BCNU Nursing Education Bursary (2011)
  • VCHA Cordula and Gunter Paetzold Nursing Education Bursary (2011 - 2012)

Research Opportunities for Graduate Students:

Engage with Dr. Stephens through your thesis program or independent studies in areas including oncology nursing, palliative care and hospice, oncology patient experience concerns (like body image and identity), qualitative research methods, and history of nursing topics.

Current student collaborations include projects in blood transfusion management, regulatory barriers for nurse entrepreneurs, anticipatory grief for parents with terminally ill children.

Recent Publications

Thiessen, N., Stephens, J., & Leslie, K. (in development). Assessing the foundation for nurse entrepreneurship: A scoping review.

Stephens, J. & Thorne, S. (under review). When cancer is the self: An Interpretive Description of the experience of identity by hematology cancer patients. Cancer Nursing.

Stephens, J. & Tano, R. (in press). Hemoglobin matters: Perioperative blood management for oncology patients. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal.

Stephens, J.M.L. (2020). Cardiopulmonary complications. (Chapter 11). In Susan Ezzone (Ed.). Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation: A Manual. (3rd ed.) Pittsburgh, PA: Oncology Nursing Press.

Hopkins, N. and Stephens, J. (2020). Education strategies supporting Internationally Educated Registered Nurse Students with English as a second language in Canada. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research. doi: 10.1177/0844562120917254

Stephens, J. (Summer 2017). Research Reflections: Communicating your research. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 27(3), 283-284.

Stephens, J. (6 April 2016). Reflections of an oncology nurse on physician assisted death in Canada. Cancer Knowledge Network Web site. Retrieved from https://cancerkn.com

Stephens, J. (2016). Commentary on the CANO/ACIO conference: Medically Assisted Death in Canada: Careful and Thoughtful Practice Directions for Oncology Nurses. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 26(1), 90-91.

Stephens, J. (2016 February). Patient Perspectives: Cancer Take Two. Oncology Exchange, 15(1), 23-24.

Thorne, S., Stephens, J., & Truant, T. (2016). Building qualitative study design using nursing's disciplinary epistemology. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72(2), 451-460. doi:10.1111/jan.12822

Recent Presentations and Expert Interviews

Podcast. Leslie, K., Nelson, S., Shelley, J., Schiller, C., Stephens, J., Cook, K., & Myles, S. (December 2020). Regulating During Crisis: Examining Nursing Regulatory Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic [oral presentation]. Canadian Health Workforce Virtual Conference. [Presented by K. Leslie and S. Myles].

Poster. Stephens, J. (2020, Nov 4-6). Bile, worm, and me: A brief sociocultural history of cancer and identity. Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology conference (online).

Stephens, J. (2020, 7 April). Wolf, cell, me: A scoping historical review of cancer meaning and identity [Keynote presentation]. Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO) Oncology Nursing Day Education Event, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Event canceled.

Stephens, J. (2020, 7 April). Social media and nursing history [Keynote presentation]. BC History of Nursing Society 2020 Annual General Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Event canceled.

Expert Interview. Pirschel, C. (2018). What to do when your patients talk about medical aid in dying. Oncology Nursing Society Voice. Retrieved from https://voice.ons.org/views/what-to-do-when-your-patients-talk-about-medical-aid-in-dying.

Speaker (2 May 2018). Exploring issues of identity for adult haematology oncology patients: A layered qualitative study. University of British Columbia, School of Nursing Conference. Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Speaker (7 March 2017). How did we come to this? A brief history of blood cancer and meaning. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of B.C. Burnaby, BC.

Coordinator and Co-Host (16 November 2016). MAiD and the Role of the Oncology Nurse, Fall Education Conference for the CANO BC Chapter. BCCA Vancouver Centre, Vancouver, BC.

Podcast Author/Speaker (March 2015). Reviewing conference abstracts for CANO/ACIO: A “how-to” primer for conference abstract reviewers. [podcast]

Professional Licenses

  • (applied for) Registered Nurse (College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta)
  • Registered Nurse (British Columbia College of Nursing Professionals)
  • Registered Nurse (Washington State, USA)

Selected Certifications

  • Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) (Oncology Nursing Certification Coorporation, USA)
  • Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Certification
  • Clinical Instructor Certification Course (Canadian Nurse Educator Institute)

Current Clinical Practice

  • Casual Staff Nurse, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplantation Program of BC
    (Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver, BC)
  • Nurse Next Door (on leave)

Current Author of CEU Modules (for Nurse.com)

Introduction to Oncology Emergencies

Cancer and Chemotherapy

Common Fallacies about Cancer Pain

Cancer Update: Focus on Screening, Early Detection, and Prevention

Multiple Myeloma – Exploring the Challenges

Cancer Treatment: The Role of Monoclonal Antibodies

Bladder Cancer: Risk factors and Treatment Options

When the Diagnosis is Endometrial Cancer

Navigating the Breast Cancer Journey, Part 1

Navigating the Breast Cancer Journey, Part 2 UPCOMING

Progress Made Against Colorectal Cancer

Hospice and Palliative Care

Common Misconceptions about Cancer Pain (upcoming)

MDS: Mild to Aggressive Disorders of Immature Blood Cells (course reviewer)