Emergency Nursing Program

Joy Zozuk, RN, BScN, MN

Joy is a graduate of the Dalhousie BSc in Nursing Program; and earned a Master’s in Nursing from Athabasca University. She has been a nurse for 17 years with the majority of her time spent in the emergency department. She worked at the Dartmouth General ER for 10 years prior to moving to sunny San Diego, California, in 2004. During her 8 years in California, Joy worked as a fill-time travel emergency nurse for several years prior to going into her true passion — nursing education.

During her time educating in the nursing program, she was a part of a college that built a new nursing department that had a state-of-the art simulation laboratory and interactive learning systems to support instruction.

As the educator of the Med-Surg course, she pioneered the way within the faculty in terms of the creation and implementation of simulation exercises as integrated modules of the curriculum. As the educator of the pharmacology course, Joy designed, produced, implemented, and instructed the first online course to be offered in the nursing program. She was awarded the “Instructor of the Year — Excellence in Teaching” award for these two milestones. In May 2011 Joy was awarded an assistant professorship. In August of 2012 she moved back to Nova Scotia, to be closer to family.

902-473-2176 | Joy.Zozuk@nshealth.ca

Ruth Kinnear, RN, BN

Ruth joined the Learning Institute team in 2019 as faculty with the Emergency Nursing Program (ENP). Ruth has worked in medicine, cardiothoracic, renal, and emergency departments that have all provided vast experiences. The people that have impacted Ruth’s career, includes family, health care workers, patients and their families.

From her earliest memories she has always had a passion for learning and sharing that knowledge. Ruth’s chosen profession has provided her with the opportunity to combine travel and work, networking with people from around the world.

902-222-3719 | Ruth.Kinnear@nshealth.ca

Sandra Johnson, BScN, RN

Sandra graduated from Cape Breton University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began her career as one of the first entry levels in the Emergency Department. After spending some years there, she quickly realized she gravitated towards the more critical patients and made the transition to Intensive Care. She practiced as a bedside nurse in Cape Breton Regional’s Intensive Care Unit for several years, acting also as a preceptor for both the Critical Care Nursing Program as well as the Emergency Nursing Program. She became the hospital’s first Clinical Resource Nurse for the Intensive Care and Coronary Care Unit. It is through this job that she began to help facilitate labs and simulations with the Critical Care Nursing Program. She joined the Learning Institute as a permanent employee in the summer of 2019 with the Emergency Nursing Faculty, while still offering lab and simulation supports to the Critical Care Nursing Program. Sandra is passionate about the transition and integration of novice practitioners to critical care areas. She is also an advocate for meaningful reconciliation with our First Nations, Inuit and Metis, and works tirelessly to end stigma in health care. Sandra has almost completed her Master’s in Education from the University of New Brunswick.

When not at work you can usually find Sandra with her family in a rink somewhere in the province, watching her son play hockey. Sandra loves to travel and is an amateur photographer. She lives in Glace Bay with her husband of 25 years, Scott, daughter Kennedy, son Xavier, and her dog Marny.

902-574-1015 | SandraD.Johnson@nshealth.ca

Rene Boyd, BScN, RN

Rene graduated from nursing in 2007 from CBU/StFX, then moved to Alberta to work at the Royal Alex in Edmonton, where she gained experience in vascular thoracic and neuro-trauma units. Rene moved back to Cape Breton to work in surgery, where she gained valuable skills to shape her critical care career and learned from the nurses how to be safe, competent, and advocate for her patients. Those nurses molded Rene into the nurse she is today.

Rene accepted a position at the Emergency Department at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, where she found her place in nursing. Starting in the acute zone in the ED, Rene learned how to care for the quite sick, building her competence and confidence in practice. After 3 years in the ED, Rene accepted a clinical nurse leader position at Victoria County hospital in Baddeck. She learned the importance of rural nursing and gained appreciation for the “jack of all trades” nursing they bring to the table. Missing the chaos in Sydney, Rene went back to the CBRH and accepted the CNL position in the ED. Rene has made many lifelong connections to patients, co-workers, and the interdisciplinary team.

Rene is currently working towards her master’s in nursing. She works as an instructor with the Emergency Nursing Program and the Critical Care Nursing Programs at the Learning Institute, and she works with the Sim IPE team to support Dalhousie medical residents. On top of that, she and her work partner (Sandra) are designing an emergency nursing elective for CBU, StFX, and Dalhousie.

In her personal life, Rene is a mom of a little fashionista 11-year-old girl. Her partner, Ev, keeps her on her toes with continuous pranks and laughs. They have 3 dogs and a busy, chaotic, life… just like the ED.

902-574-3573 | Carla.Boyd@nshealth.ca

Krystyna Black, BScN RN, ENC(c)

Krystyna graduated from Dalhousie University with a BSc in Nursing in 2014. She worked most of her career at the Dartmouth General Hospital, starting on a medicine unit then transitioning to the Emergency Room to advance her knowledge and skills. She completed the Emergency Nursing Program in 2019 and quickly achieved her National Certification in Emergency Nursing from the Canadian Nurses Association. She remained in ER full-time for 5 years, then decided to mix up her skills and work part-time ER and part-time ICU for a year. During this time, Krystyna started taking extra education courses and worked casually with NSCC as a nursing instructor to get her feet wet in her eventual career path – nursing education. Krystyna has always been an advocate for education, either taking courses herself or by preceptoring, orientating, and mentoring staff and students. She loved introducing emergency nursing to others with whom she could share her passion. She began at the Learning Institute in 2022 as a Nursing Instructor with the Emergency Nursing Program and she’s never been happier.

Krystyna has always been a big advocate for education and change, having taken many courses and participated on numerous committees to better patient care. Emergency medicine and nursing is constantly evolving and changing, and Krystyna looks forward to being a small part of that change by educating future ER nurses. She plans to continue her own education and eventually will take a Masters of Education to help solidify her passion for teaching.

Outside of work you can catch Krystyna with her partner and friends or family, trying new foods as a self-proclaimed “foodie”, travelling the world, and visiting her old home of Cape Breton.

782-641-6936 | Krystyna.Black@nshealth.ca

Jessica Ring, BN, RN, ENC(C)


Jessica graduated from Memorial University with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2014. She began her career working at the Janeway pediatric emergency in St. John’s before cross-training to adult emergency shortly after. For the next 9 years, she worked as both a travel and staff nurse in 17 different emergency departments throughout Newfoundland, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. During this time, she fell in love with small-town nursing and the unique challenges that come with it. She was able to expand her nursing knowledge and continued to complete various courses and certifications, including receiving her Emergency Nursing Certification from the Canadian Nurses Association. In 2023, she returned to Nova Scotia to be closer to family, and she joined the Learning Institute in 2024 as a Nursing Instructor in the Emergency Nursing Program.

Jessica is currently working on her Master's in Adult Education with a Concentration in Adult Education and Health from St. Francis Xavier University. She is enthusiastic about lifelong learning and professional development and is passionate about educating the next generation of nurses in a way that is inclusive to all learners.

Outside of work, Jessica can be found at the rink coaching or playing ringette, camping, travelling around the country, or out on a trail with her dog.

902-717-3548 | Jessica.Ring@nshealth.ca

The Nova Scotia Health Learning Institute for Health Care Providers offers education programming designed to meet the needs of learners across the province and strengthen our health care system. We are committed to delivering high-quality, evidence-informed programming that enables providers to develop and maintain foundational and specialty competencies.