Virginia Lee is part of a special breed of educators who play a vital role in strengthening the links between the university and the clinical setting.

Virginia Lee, RN, PhD, a clinically-based Assistant Professor who joined the Ingram School of Nursing faculty in 2005, is part of a special breed of educators who play a vital role in strengthening the links between the university and the clinical setting. The attributes she brings to this position include a passion for lifelong learning, a keen interest in teaching, and an extensive background as a psychosocial oncology nurse scientist. “As a researcher, I study the benefits of healing connections during the cancer patient experience. As a clinically-based Assistant Professor, I see myself as part of the cycle of evidence-based knowledge transmission from bedside to research and back to practice. I connect clinicians at the hospital, faculty and researchers at the Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN), and I try to be a role model for students,” she explains.

A proud graduate of McGill Nursing, Prof. Lee is based in the Cedars Cancer Mission of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), where she serves as Manager, Supportive and Palliative Care Program and Services, and Director of Cedars CanSupport. She devotes several hours per month to her responsibilities as Assistant Professor, preparing and delivering guest lectures and workshops in her area of expertise, serving on ISoN committees, and supervising graduate students’ research or quality projects in the clinical setting.

The ideas for projects can come directly from nursing practice challenges or from diverse multidisciplinary clinical needs. Students choose the topics that match their interests, gaining valuable experience in a hospital setting. Clinicians like Prof. Lee are often the liaisons between key members of the hospital and academic settings as they identify pertinent and inspiring research questions to study. For example, Prof. Lee is currently a co-principal investigator on a study funded by the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation, with Dr. Sarkis Meterissian, Director of the MUHC Breast Clinic, and Prof. Christine Maheu who supervises PhD student Wing Lam (Jessica) Tock. This randomized clinical trial is studying the effects of having access to a life coach on breast cancer survivors – an intervention that is finding its way into cancer care. Prof. Lee provides insight into the clinical perspectives to facilitate the recruitment of patients and/or family members and ensures that the students have what they need to complete the work and have a rewarding learning experience.

Supervising research projects is a win-win for all concerned, notes Prof. Lee. “Students take ownership of their projects, clinicians are empowered by the opportunity to impart their knowledge, and the department or unit winds up with a solution-focused result to a problem they had identified, leading to better patient care.”

“Our clinically based faculty members are essential to the ISoN’s high quality nursing education, research, and community engagement. They ensure that our school remains closely connected to our partner institutions, and they enrich our educational mission with their extensive expertise and willingness to facilitate student learning,” says Catherine-Anne Miller, Faculty Lecturer, Chair of the Appointments, Reappointments, Recognition, and Promotions committee at the ISoN.

Recruitment to these non-remunerated clinically-based faculty roles is ongoing. Professor Lee is always on the lookout for nurses who have the attributes to do the work that she finds so gratifying. She tries to identify nurses who are enthusiastic and dynamic, who like to keep up to date by searching the evidence. While they may not necessarily occupy leadership positions, these nurses stand out as natural mentors to their peers. Her pitch? “I tell them that aside from being incredibly fulfilling, having a McGill title opens up tremendous opportunities to discover and nurture their interests in research and teaching.”

If you’re interested in getting involved at the faculty level, please reach out to the chair of the ISoN Appointments, Reappointments, Recognition, and Promotions Committee at For a clinically-based faculty appointment at ISoN, past and future contributions must be clear in the areas of teaching, service, and/or research. The job description and process for appointment are available here.

For Nurse Practitioners, the Affiliate Member description and process are available here