Research affiliations

Research summary

My program of research aims to understand family experiences of serious pediatric illness through the integration of family systems theory and the expressive arts. We use artistic inquiry to support family members in engaging with a studio-oriented approach to artmaking, which facilitates a distinct form of understanding and knowledge. Central to artistic inquiry is the belief that the arts hold a unique, untapped potential to heal the emotional, psychological, and spiritual suffering of illness. We aim to influence clinical care through the development of arts-based approaches that support families in expressing, understanding, and sharing their illness experiences with one another, as well as the clinicians involved in their care.


Dr. West is an adjunct professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Manitoba. She has extensive practice experience in child health and family systems nursing. Dr. West has experience in arts-based research methodology and has led the development of an expressive arts approach called ‘dialoguing with images,’ into a method for health research. Dr. West has also conducted mindfulness-based arts intervention studies in oncology and is conducting a systematic review on digital storytelling as a method for health research. Dr. West has teaching expertise in family health, qualitative research, evidence-informed practice, and advanced philosophy for nursing science.


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary (2011)

  • Master of Nursing from the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary (2003)

  • Bachelor of Science in Physiology (Hons) from the University of Western Ontario (1996)

  • Registered Nurse Diploma from Fanshawe College (1987)

Contact us

College of Nursing
Helen Glass Centre for Nursing
89 Curry Place
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry Campus) 
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada