The Northern Nursing Education Network was established to share best practices in northern nursing education pedagogy and promote nursing education opportunities in the Circumpolar region in order to build a stable and effective local nursing workforce. We seek to:

  • Conduct research assessing pedagogies and didactics most appropriate for northern nursing education;
  • Share best practices amongst northern nursing educators at biannual UArctic Thematic Network on Northern Nursing Education meetings, and a concomitant survey tracking northern nursing education programs, pedagogical models, and recruitment & retention rates;
  • Establish an Innovative Learning Institute for Circumpolar Health to allow northern nursing students to meet and learn from their counterparts around the Circumpolar North;
  • Evaluate the regulation of nursing practice in a northern context across the circumpolar North;
  • Explore different uses of technology, including remote presence technology, to improve accessibility and quality of clinical instruction and continuing education by using technology to develop pedagogics suitable for health care students in the high north; and
  • Facilitate the transfer of knowledge between circumpolar health researchers, and nursing educators and students.

Lorna Butler from the University of Saskatchewan and Bente Norbye from UiT The Arctic University of Norway are the co-leads. Heather Exner-Pirot from the University of Saskatchewan is the Coordinator.


The Northern Nursing Education Network was established in Reykjavik, Iceland on April 29, 2015. The Network arose from collaboration between the University of Saskatchewan and North East Federal University starting in June 2010, and a partnership between the University Saskatchewan and UiT Norway’s Arctic university beginning in January, 2014. In addition a meeting of Canadian institutions offering northern nursing education and the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada was held at the Canadian Nurses Association biannual conference in Winnipeg, in June 2014, to discuss the possibility of a Network.

USask and UiT were successful in obtaining seed funding from the University of the Arctic in Fall 2014 and a multi-year programmatic grant from SIU High North Programme in 2015 to establish the Network and begin its scholarly activities.

The Northern Nursing Education Network was formally approved as a University of the Arctic Thematic Network status in June 2015. It currently has twelve members. All members offer baccalaureate-level nursing education in northern communities through traditional face-to-face, decentralized, or distributed teaching methods.