“Just” a Nurse with Justin Burkett

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Justin Burkett is a full-time instructor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary with experience in International and Clinical Nursing Education, Emergency Nursing and Healthcare Simulation. Justin is a member of the Clinical Simulation Learning Centre at the Faculty of Nursing with a special interest in mindfulness in the simulation environment.

When he’s not teaching, Justin is an active community volunteer, political activist, and was just elected to a three-year term as Provincial Councillor at the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta CARNA for Calgary West. An avid runner and yogi, Justin also enjoys spending time outdoors with his dog Max, enjoying the beautiful nature in and around Calgary, Alberta. Justin is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in Leadership for Health Systems Transformation as part of the new Masters of Nursing Stackable Certificates Program at the University of Calgary.


Episode Highlights

We start by talking about the circuitous route that led Justin to nursing and leadership before exploring:

  • How it took one hundred applications to get a job in emerge
  • His experience taking students to Doha, Qatar and what he brought back with him
  • The relationship between nurses and the systems built around nursing
  • What clinical simulation is and how mindfulness can and should be included
  • The experience of being male in a predominantly female profession
  • The identity crisis of registered nurses
  • What can we do with the ‘just-a-nurse’ mentality

Key Points

1. Hurry slowly. Don’t miss the journey in the rush to get to the destination.

2. Be persistent. Follow your passion and stick with it.

3. Stay true to who you are and go from there.




“Do the hard work. Look inside, ask the questions of Who I am? What type of person am I? and What type of world I want to see? And then, from that place, to apply those principles that they’ve learned into all situations.”

—Justin Burkett


“The barriers we place on ourselves, thinking we can’t lead until we get through all of those (nursing positions), I think does a real disservice.”

—Justin Burkett


“What we’ve actually been trained to do is to care for society and what we’re doing now is taking medications out of an automated drug dispenser and spiking IV bags.”

—Justin Burkett


“We have developed a system that has removed the nurse from the bedside.”

—Justin Burkett

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