Steven Cairns

Steven Cairns Profile Photo
Assistant Professor / Faculty of Education and Professional Studies - School of Nursing - Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) to BScN Bridging Program
Full-time Faculty
​Steve specializes in cultural competency in health care and professional development in nursing within the RPN to BScN Blended Nursing Program at Nipissing University. As an on-line educator, Steve facilitates innovative approaches to engage students and to build curriculum strategies that take advantage of current learning platform technology. Spanning over a 20 year career as a practicing Registered Nurse, Steve has specialized in: neonatal intensive care, critical care and community health within isolated First Nations communities. He continues to practice emergency room nursing with Muskoka Algonquin Health Care.
Areas of Specialization:

Engagement of students in on-line learning, cultural diversity education, cultural competency in nursing, leadership facilitation, program development and evaluation, clinical education and First Nations community health.

Research Interests:

Exploring cultural adaptation experiences in relation to climate change and environmental health.

Perceptions of nursing students (past and present) towards the environment.

Current & Future Research:

Exploring innovations, motivations and the shared experience of relationship to a cause within a community of practice: A participatory action research project into interprofessional collaboration and the dynamics of community engagement regarding the mobilization of people calling for citizen rights to a healthy environment in Canada. Steve will be highlighting this work during a presentation entitled, ‘Your community needs you - An example of community collaboration towards political change’ at the Northern Interprofessional Collaborative in Health Education (NICHE) Conference on October 28, 2015. Looking back to the future – Reflections on climate change and an arctic community: Steve is revisiting relationships and reflections from an outpost nursing placement in Naujaat, Nunavut to explore the lived experience; past and present, among specific community members and himself over a 25 year span. Living in an arctic community and travelling among local hunters was a transformative experience for Steve, one which informed his appreciation for cultural difference and concern regarding the environmental impacts of climate change. Steve looks forward to sharing his reflections, research and reconnection to the people of Naujaat in relation to a significantly warming arctic environment. Implications for outpost clinical nursing placements will also be explored.

Future Research: Exploring environmental health in relation to social justice requires a cultural shift in how health care professionals are educated and prepared to take action towards a low carbon future. Steve is interested in exploring ways to engage leadership among health educators, other professions, community members and health agencies towards reconnecting with nature and forming community-based initiatives on climate change.


Cairns, S. J. (2015, June 24). The right to clean air, water and soil in Muskoka. What’s Up Muskoka, pp.9. 

Salyers, V., Carter, L., Cairns, S., Durrer, L., &. (2014). The use of scaffolding and interactive learning strategies in online courses for working nurses: Implications for adult and online education. Canadian Journal of University Continuing Education,40(1).…


Beattie, B., Cairns, S. (2016). Learning Effectiveness: A Program Evaluation Framework. Canadian Association for University Continuing Education Conference. June.

Cairns, S. (2015). Nursing Earth, one community at a time: An examination of influencing local environmental policy through interprofessional collaboration. Webinar Presentation: Canadian Water Resources Association, BC Branch. November.

Cairns, S. (2015). Your community needs you - An example of community collaboration towards political change, Northern Interprofessional Collaborative for Health Educators Conference. October.