By Kelly Brooks-Staub
“In our classes, we talk about evidence-based nursing practice, but I wanted to learn for myself how to interpret that evidence,” says baccalaureate nursing student Kristen Jadelrab ’07. She is one of eight students participating in the school’s Undergraduate Research Honors Program to learn about the entire research process—from writing the initial proposal, to conducting the research, to reporting the results.
Over the course of three semesters, each student will carry out a research project under the mentorship of a faculty member. The goal: to foster an appreciation of research and its value to the nursing profession.
For her research project, Jadelrab is working with associate professor Miyong Kim, PhD, RN, FAAN, who specializes in culturally sensitive health care. “My professors often teach us the basic principles of cultural competency,” says Jadelrab, “but I’ve found myself wondering if the modules we are learning are actually helping patients.”
The current cultural competency approach involves educating health care practitioners on a particular culture’s norms, behaviors, and perspectives so that they might better provide care for individuals from that culture. While the intent is admirable, Jadelrab wonders whether this approach might be too simplistic.
Her research will explore the effectiveness of the cultural competency model and the possibility of taking a “cultural humility” approach to improving care. With this model, “instead of teaching nurses that ‘Asian people prefer holistic treatments,’ or ‘Hispanics rely more on their families for medical decision-making,’ I would like to develop a tool that nurses can use to learn about their patients’ individual perspectives. Culture is so much more than a person’s ethnicity!”
During the spring 2006 semester, students worked closely with faculty to review the relevant literature and write a research proposal.
The research projects will be carried out this fall and students will evaluate their projects and report their results next spring.
During these three semesters, the students meet regularly with professor Jerilyn Allen, ScD, RN, FAAN, associate dean for research, for a series of topical seminars on nursing research. The students also discuss their own research during these seminars, sharing their experiences and bouncing ideas off of one another.
“The goal of the program is to promote intellectual growth among a diverse group of highly motivated undergraduate students who aspire to learn more about nursing research,” says Allen. “We hope that the program will encourage students to pursue advanced nursing degrees, such as an MSN or PhD, and continue to engage in nursing research and scholarship.”
Seven other students are participating in the Undergraduate Research Honors Program:
Faculty Sponsor: Marguerite Littleton-Kearney, DNSc, RN, FAAN
“Effects of Estrogen Replacement Therapy on Platelet Aggregation in Wister Rats”
Faculty Sponsor: Victoria Mock, DNSc, AOCN, FAAN
“Fatigue During Cancer Treatment: Does Exercise Help?”
Faculty Sponsor: Gayle Page, DNSc, RN, FAAN
“Anxiety as a Predictor of Chronic Pain Susceptibility in Rats”
Faculty Sponsor: Marie Nolan, DNSc, RN
“Exploring the Concept of ‘Being a Burden’ in End of Life Care Decisions”
Faculty Sponsor: Jerilyn Allen, ScD, RN, FAAN
“Perceived Cardiovascular Risk in a Low-Income Population with Type-2 Diabetes”
Faculty Sponsor: Phyllis Sharps, PhD, RN, FAAN
“Partner Violence and HIV/AIDS Related Behavioral Outcomes in Women of African Heritage”
Faculty Sponsor: Linda Pugh, PhD, RNC, FAAN
“The Relationship of Partner Support and Breastfeeding Duration”