Paula Tognazzini (BSN ’77, MSN ’83)

aula Tognazzini (BSN ’77, MSN ’83) was born in Tuscany in a little village about two hours north of Florence. She was 11 when her parents immigrated to Calgary, Alberta. She graduated from high school in 1966 and began her RN education that year at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. After graduating in 1969 she worked in Edmonton and Toronto before coming to Vancouver in 1971.She started working at the UBC Psychiatric Hospital until 1975 when she enrolled in the post RN BSN program at the UBC School of Nursing. After graduating in 1977 she started working at the West End Mental Health Team as a community mental health nurse. She began working on her master’s degree at the UBC School of Nursing part-time and completed her degree in 1983.

Paula is a Senior Instructor in the School and specializes in mental health, community health and family nursing. She is passionate about nursing; she knows that nurses make a big difference in people’s lives at a time when they are most vulnerable. She enjoys working with students and believes in creating supportive learning environments. Mental Health Promotion is of particular interest to Paula. She is a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association steering committee for the “Beyond the Blues” campaign for depression education and screening that happens throughout B.C. every October.

Paula was awarded a Teaching Scholarship Project Support Award in 2008 that allowed her to initiate a mental health promotion project that she hopes one day will be completely run by nursing students. The project, called “Are You Going Bananas?” promotes mental health education at UBC university residences, secondary schools and health fairs. The feedback from students indicates that they find it a valuable experience that allows them to collaborate with the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Wellness Centre and other resources in the community. The value of the project is that it also informs and reduces the stigma associated with mental illness.

Paula is on sabbatical from September 2008 to September 2009. She and Dr. Anne Dewar are involved in research on the Management of Acute and Chronic Pain in Home Care Settings. She is learning about pain, pain management and about the experiences and challenges home care nurses face when caring for their patients.

Paula enjoys gardening, loving to “have her hands in the dirt”, as well as hiking and kayaking. And she loves finding out about people’s lives. She has two grown children, and ten and 11 year old cats who are mother and daughter.