Laura Nimmon, PhD


Dr. Laura Nimmon is a Scientist at the Centre for Health Education Scholarship and Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia. She is an Associate Editor for Perspectives on Medical Education.

Research Interests

There is an illusion of independence in health professions education. However, educators, learners, patients, and healthcare providers are each connected to a complex set of social networks of peers, family, friends, and colleagues nested within overlapping structures and systems. These social networks interact dynamically to shape learning, and the delivery and experience of healthcare.

My primary research interest is in making the influence of social structures visible within the educational and professional practices of the health professions. My collaborative program of research has cast a light on the hidden, covert, and informal ways individuals use their social connections for resiliency, reflection, transitions, identity formation, knowledge exchange, emotional support, and diversification of perspective.

The insights from my research widen the implicit and unquestioned drive towards the goal of “independent” practitioners. Instead, I believe the goal should be practitioners deeply embedded in social structures who have the awareness and relational skills to take advantage of their interdependence. My research also expands conceptualizations of technical expertise to encompass relational expertise. This recharacterization of medical expertise enables health practitioners to learn more effectively and respond more sensitively when interacting with patients and colleagues.

I am an award-winning researcher and my work is funded by tri-council funding agencies, hospital foundations, and professional regulatory bodies.

I am also an award-winning mentor. I am recipient of the UBC Faculty of Medicine Award for excellence in mentoring early career faculty. I am also recipient of the CAME-ACEM Champion Award for advocacy, role modeling and mentorship of early career researchers.

I supervise and mentor graduate students and health professions educators on research that illuminates the social aspects of learning and professional practice. This research draws on a range of social theories for others to “see” social context anew and enlarge scholarly approaches to learning and practice. This work spans topics such as psychological safety; empathy retention; disability and inclusion; IMG experiences; high stakes decision making, and remote simulation.


  • UBC Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Mentoring Early Career Faculty (2021)
  • CAME-ACEM Champion Award for Advocacy, Role Modeling and Mentorship of Early Career Researchers (Canadian Association for Medical Education) (2020)
  • Young Researcher Award (Society for Academic Continuing Medical Education, USA) (2017)
  • Arthritis Society Young Investigator Salary Award (2015-2018)

Publication Highlights

Mortaz Hejri, S., Yousefi-Nooraie, R. Young, M., Nimmon, L. (In press). Social network analysis in medical education.  AM Last Page, Academic Medicine.

Stasiuk, S., Hubinette, M., Nimmon, L. (Published online, 2022). The ways social networks shape reflection on early significant clinical experiences in medical school. Canadian Medical Education Journal.

Nimmon, L., Atherley, A. (2022). Qualitative ego networks in health professions education: Capturing the self in relation to other. Medical Education. (State of the Science Issue), 56(1), 71-81.

Atherley, A., Nimmon, L., Teunissen, P., Dolmans, D., Hegazi, I., Hu, W. (2021). Students social networks are diverse, dynamic, and deliberate when transitioning to clinical training. Medical Education, 55(3), 376-386.

Buckley, B., Nimmon, L. (2020). Learning in faculty development: The role of social networks. Academic Medicine, 95(11S), S20-S27.

Nimmon, L. (2020). Expanding medical expertise: Role of healer. Medical Education. 54(5), 380-381.

Paradis, E., Nimmon, L., Whitehead, C. Wondimagegn, D. (2020). Critical theory: Broadening our thinking to explore the structural factors at play in health professions education. Academic Medicine, 95 (6), 842-845.

Tsuei, S., Lee, D., Ho, C., Regehr, G., Nimmon, L. (2019). Exploring the construct of psychological safety in medical education. Academic Medicine. 94(11S), S28-S35.