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Transforming Health Care: Students present the latest in nursing research

Friday, May 3, 2013

Many veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming home with multiple conditions of chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder or persistent post concussive syndrome but are often being treated and diagnosed for just one.

At Thursday’s Graduate Research Day hosted by USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, doctor in nursing practice candidate Anne Monroe (pictured, left) demonstrated a tool she’s developed to make sure injured veterans get all the care they need.

Veterans often go down a “rabbit hole” where they are just treated for one condition, she said. While VA hospitals provide good care they are often overcrowded and many veterans are also being seen by community health care providers who are not aware of the multiple conditions which have similar symptoms but require very different treatments.

“The Poly Trauma Clinical Triad Symptom Reference Tool is an attractive, easy to understand diagram of the multiple symptoms of PTSD, PPCS and chronic pain,” Monroe explained. “I designed it to emphasize to providers the multiple symptoms the diagnoses share. It shows potential to also be used in a broader form to teach patients suffering from poly trauma clinical triad diagnoses to better understand how the symptoms are similar and can be underdiagnosed.”

Students in the nursing school’s master’s degree, PhD and DNP programs presented about 50 posters demonstrating their research at Thursday’s event. “Nurse scientists and their research are transforming health care and this tranformation will multiply over  the next decades,” said Sally Brosz Hardin, dean of the nursing school.

“Nurses focus on preventing illness, optimizing health, treating the whole patient – mind, body and spirit – and working with individuals, families and communities,” she said.

Other examples of life-saving research at the nursing school include assuring that pregnant mothers with HIV are adhering to their medications to prevent transmission to the fetus, screening thousands of pregnant mothers and treating those at high risk for peri-natal depression, and designing instructional videos for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

The students’ work is being recognized by the health care community. Last month Monroe presented her poster at the Western Institute of Nursing Conference in Anaheim and at the National Evidence-Based Practice Nursing Symposium in Iowa City, Iowa.  At the Anaheim conference, DNP candidate Stephen Brown’s presentation on a program to make sure mental health patients take their medications was judged second overall out of 500 posters and first among students.

– Liz Harman

Opposite Page: Rendering of the Betty and Bob Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation.

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