Picture of  Rusla Anne Springer

Rusla Anne Springer PhD(NURS)(U of C), MN(APN/Thesis)(U of C), BScN(UVic), RN, CNS Assistant Professor

E4230 Health Sciences, Saskatoon


Anne Springer joined the College of Nursing in January 2010. Her registered nursing career has spanned more than three decades and includes experience in general and advanced nursing practice. She has served in a variety of nursing leadership, management, consultancy and advisory roles. Dr. Springer’s clinical background includes maternal/child; long-term care and rehabilitation; general medicine/surgery; orthopedics; urology; gynecology; emergent/urgent/trauma/intensive care; and most recently, interprofessional clinical leadership. She is a Clinical Nurse Specialist who spent more than a decade leading and practicing with an interprofessional team of healthcare providers in the care of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients and their families in the Northern Interior of British Columbia.

Dr. Springer received her registered nurse diploma from the College of New Caledonia, Prince George, BC (1988). She earned a BScN (1996) from the University of Victoria, a thesis based MN in Advanced Practice Nursing (2004) and a PhD (2009) from the University of Calgary. She studied relational ethics through the John Dossetor Health Ethics Center at the University of Alberta (1999), and served as a graduate student member of the Conjoint Research Ethics Board for the Calgary Health Region (2002-03). Dr. Springer’s Master’s and Doctoral research arose directly from her clinical practice experiences working with MS patients and their families. Her master’s thesis entitled "Exploring Decisional Conflict around Disease Modifying Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis" explored the relationships between decisional conflict and patients’ treatment expectations, their perceptions of self-determinism, control, and satisfaction in contexts of treatment decision making. Her doctoral dissertation entitled "Pharmaceutical Industry Discursives and the Subjectivities of Physicians, Nurses and Multiple Sclerosis Patients: A Foucauldian Dispositive Analysis" focused on the ethics of pharmaceutical industry incursion into the practice of medicine and nursing in the Neurology sub-specialty of Multiple Sclerosis. That work revealed the discursive effects of pharmaceutical industry (PI) discourse on the subjectivities of physicians, nurses and patients. 

Dr. Springer is the recipient of a number of awards, scholarships, and distinctions, some of which include: a major Studentship Award from the MS Society of Canada (2002); the Dean’s Entrance Scholarship, PhD program at the University of Calgary (2004); the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship (2006, 2007, and 2008); the Alberta Graduate Student Scholarship (2004); the Province of Alberta Doctoral Fellowship (2006); an International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN) (2006) Fellowship; the Calgary Chapter Nomination for the International P.E.O. Scholar Award (2006); and a nomination for the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (IIQM) Doctoral Dissertation Award (2009). She teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in the College of Nursing in the areas of nursing issues, ethics, policy, politics, professionalism, communication and leadership. Dr. Springer is a member of the Global Interprofessional Health Group and has been involved in facilitating student learning in interprofessional practice through her involvement with the “Longitudinal Elderly Person Shadowing Project” (LEPS)(2010-2012). She has also been involved in interprofessional curriculum development through her service as a member of the College of Health Science Deans (CHSD) interprofessional Curriculum Committee (2010-2012). Dr. Springer served as the Vice-Chair of the University of Saskatchewan's Biomedical Research Ethics Board (07/2014-01/2017), and as quorum member knowledgeable in ethics (10/2012-01/2017). She served as a member of the St. Paul's Hospital Board of Directors Ethics Committee (July, 2014 - June, 2017) and is a member of the Canadian Bioethics Society. She conducts peer reviews for the Journal of Medical Ethics, Nursing Philosophy, Qualitative Health Research, Advances in Health Sciences Education and Critical Studies in Education, and is a grant reviewer for the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. She is also an active member of the International Philosophy of Nursing Society. Dr. Springer’s educational, experiential, and research background, positions her to conduct health care research using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies; however her preferred methodological approach is the application of Foucauldian concepts, principles, and theories to the conduct of discourse analysis.

Scholary Interests:

  • Nursing Philosophy
  • Biomedical, Nursing & Healthcare Ethics
  • Nursing History
  • Interprofessional Education and Practice
  • Ethical Leadership

Professional Practice

My professional practice, in concert with my research, teaching, and scholarship serves to clarify organizational research norms; to identify barriers to research integrity; to identify priorities to improve leadership approaches and to also identify, articulate and interpret the ethical implications that arise as a result of pharmaceutical industry presence and influence in the intimate relational spaces healthcare providers occupy in the delivery of human care and the conduct of human research.

Research Interests

  • The Ethics of Pharmaceutical Industry Omnipresence in Healthcare Research and Practice
  • Nursing's Relationship with the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • The influence of Pharmaceutical Industry promotion on professional practice
  • The Social Construction of Knowledge
  • Subjectivation and the Organization of Nursing Work
  • Informed Clinician and Patient Decision Making
  • The Effects of Ethical Leadership on Organizational Culture


  • Qualitative
  • Philosophical Analysis
  • Foucauldian Discourse Analysis
  • Quantitative Methods


Springer, R. A. (2019, March 4). Pharmaceutical industry influence: The persistent illusion of doctors’ unique invulnerability. [Review of the book Doctors in Denial: Why Big Pharma and the Canadian Medical Profession are too close for comfort., by J. Lexchin.]. Indian J Med Ethics.. doi: 10.20529/IJME.2019.008. 

Springer, R. A. (2018, April). Proposed Transformation Long Overdue. Canadian Nurse, 114(2), 10.

Springer, R. A., & Clinton, M. E. (2017, April). Philosophy Lost: Inquiring into the Effects of the Corporatized University and its Implications for Graduate Nursing Education. Nursing Inquiry. 2017;00:e12197. https://doi.org/10.1111/nin.12197.

Clinton, M. E., & Springer, R. A. (2017, February). Representation, archaeology and genealogy: Three “spatial metaphors” for inquiring into nursing phenomena with Foucauldian discourse analysis. Nursing Philosophy. 2017;00:e12166. doi: 10.1111/nup.12166. 

Clinton, M. E., & Springer, R. A. (2016, March). "Foucault’s Legacy for Nursing: Are we Beneficiaries or Intestate Heirs?. Nursing Philosophy, 17(2), 117 - 131. doi:10.1111/nup.121113.

Springer, R. A., & Clinton, M. (2015). Doing Foucault: Inquiring into Nursing Knowledge with Foucauldian Discourse Analysis. Nursing Philosophy, 16(2), 87-97. doi: 10.1111/nup.12079.

Springer, R. A. (2014). Rebirth of the Clinic: Places and Agents in Contemporary Health Care. Nursing Philosophy, 15(2), 152-153.

Springer, R. A., Kent-Wilkinson, A., Ewashen, C., & Ali, R. (2013). Making Time for Reflexive Dialogue in Philosophical Group Discussion: Extending the Debate on the Militarization of Nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 36(1), 18 - 25. doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e3182807780..

Springer, R. A., Kent-Wilkinson, A., Ewashen, C., & Ali, R. (2013, March 10). Making time for dialogue. [Featured Articles: Posted on March 10, 2013 by peggychinn]. ANS: Advances in Nursing Science Blog.. Advances in Nursing Science Blog. http://ansjournalblog.com/2013/03/10/makingtime-for-dialogue/ .

Racine, L., Springer, R. A., & Udod, S. (2013). Distributed Learning and Rapid Technological Change: An Exploration of Faculty Development Needs. International Journal of University Teaching and Professional Development, 3(3), 1 - 15.

Springer, R. A., & Clinton, M. E. (2013). 'Technologies of the Self' as instrumentality: Becoming instruments of the pharmaceutical industry through normative practices. APORIA, 5(1), 23 - 32.

Chapter in Book, Peer Reviewed

Racine, L., Springer, R. A., & Udod, S. (2015). Distributed Learning and Rapid Technological Change: An Exploration of Faculty Development Needs Louise Racine, Rusla Anne Springer, and Sonia Udod pp.47-62. In O. M. Alegre-de la Rosa, & L. M. Villar-Angulo. (Eds.), Research on University Teaching and Faculty Development (pp. 47 - 62). Nova Science Publishers.


Grants, Awarded (Peer-Reviewed)

Springer R (Principal Investigator). Exploring the Effects of Ethical Leadership on the Research Culture at the University of Saskatchewn., Using the Ethical Leadership Questionnaire (ELQ) (Langlois et al. 2014) in combination with the Survey of Organization Research Climate (SORC) (Martinson, Thrush & Crain, 2013) this exploratory, descriptive study will survey senior administrators, faculty members, research facilitators, Institutional Research Ethics Board (IREB) members, and graduate students at the University of Saskatchewan as a means of increasing understanding of the effects of ethical leadership on the U of S research culture. University of Saskatchewan. Total: $7,000.00 for 2016-05-01 to 2018-04-30 PSSHRC Tri-Council Award

Springer R (Principal Investigator). Understanding the Effects of Pharmaceutical Industry Oversight of the Clinical Trial Setting on the Organization of Nursing Work and Participant Experiences of Being Recruited and of Giving Informed Consent, The proposed research seeks to understand the discursive effects of pharmaceutical industry presence and influence on nursing practice, the organization of nursing work, and patient outcomes in the context of the clinical trial setting. University of Saskatchewan. Total: $1,000.00 for 2014-05-09 to 2015-05-09 Proposal Development Assistance Program (PAP) 

Grants, Awarded (Non-Peer-Reviewed)

Springer R. (Principal Investigator). Conference Paper Preparation and Presentation. "Philosophy Lost": A Probing Inquiry into the Implications for Graduate Nursing Education in the Corporatized University. University of Saskatchewan, College of Nursing, Faculty and Staff Development Grant. Total: $1,000.00 for 2016-04-20 to 2016-08-24

Springer RA (Principal Investigator). Research Grant, University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association. Total: $7,000.00 for 2012-09 to 2017-08

Springer RA (Principal Investigator). Understanding the Heterodiscursive Effects of the Clinical Trial Setting on the Recruitment of Patients and the Organization of Nursing Work, Start-up Research - An Exploratory Descriptive Study University of Saskatchewan College of Nursing New Faculty Start-up Funding. Total: $9,000.00 for 2011 to 2013