Student Research - Department of Nursing

Discovery Day 2022

COVID-19 Vaccination Status Among Benedictine College Students

Francesca Stedwill; Chloe Charles; Dr. Jackie Harris, DNP, APRN, GNP-BC, CNE ; S. Linda Herndon, OSB

The purpose of this study was to discover the motivations and hesitations among Benedictine College students regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. To obtain this data, a campus-wide survey was emailed to all students currently enrolled at Benedictine College. The survey entailed a total of 23 questions in the form of multiple-choice, select all that apply, and short answer questions. These questions focused on both the student's demographics and their personal opinions on the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey could be completed in no longer than 10 minutes. Each participant was surveyed anonymously, and results remained confidential to the researchers and faculty advisor. Four participants were randomly selected to win a $50.00 Amazon gift card as an incentive to partake in the study. This data will provide insight into the reasoning behind a student's decision to either receive the COVID-19 vaccine or not and the overall COVID-19 vaccination status on Benedictine College's campus as well as students' opinions of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Discovery Day 2021

College Students Perceptions of Smoking Versus Vaping

Bern Zignego, Isabel Lipic, Maddie Haberman, Abby Hyde, and Dr. Lynne Connelly, Nursing

Smoking has been around for decades and vaping is presently a newer alternative. Current society in the United States frowns upon cigarette smoking but vaping is not as condemned due to its novelty. Vaping tends to be more popular among college age individuals. In this study, the perceptions of smoking and vaping will be studied among college students on Benedictine College campus. This study was approved by the IRB. The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of college students to see if there is a difference in their perceptions of smoking versus vaping. The study is a mixed methods design, primarily quantitative (QUANT/qual). The data will be collected using a survey with Likert scale style questions to collect quantitative data and open-ended questions to collect qualitative data. Data collected from the Likert scale questions can be used to gather statistics on how many students are vaping and/or smoking, using descriptive statistics. Data collected from the open-ended questions will be coded and categorized to develop themes, using content analysis. The results will allow for the development of themes and overall create a basis of knowledge to develop educational programs and additional resources for further education on the topic around Benedictine College campus.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Benedictine Student’s Anxiety

Bridget Howard, Alexis Griffin, Samantha Brennan, Alyssa Woolston, Dr. Lynne Connelly, Nursing

COVID-19 has affected every person whether that would be physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This pandemic has made human connection difficult due to the barriers placed to ensure safety. These barriers, such as quarantine, has its’ positives, but it also has its’ negatives when it comes to its effect on people’s mental health. Some of the negatives of quarantine include increased anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. In this study, the effect that quarantine has on Benedictine students’ anxiety and feelings will be studied. This study was approved by the IRB. The purpose of this study is to examine the level of anxiety and other feelings students felt while being in quarantine. The study is a mixed methods design, primarily qualitative. The data will be collected using a survey with Likert scale style questions along with open-ended questions to collect the qualitative data. The data collected from the survey will provide statistics that will be analyzed using descriptive statistics. The use of content analysis will categorize and develop the themes from the data collected using the open-ended questions. The results will allow for new understanding and knowledge to address the awareness of mental health issues during quarantine. The survey was sent out over a month ago and has received 89 responses, which will be analyzed to collect our final data.

Cycling towards Health 

Lucy Boever, Hannah Hafner, Bridget Plunket, Katherine Thorpe, Dr. Lynne Connelly, Nursing

A rise in the availability and use of medical contraceptive methods decreases the emphasis placed on fertility awareness based methods (FABM) through the female menstrual cycle. The goal of this study was to determine whether education about fertility charting increases the likelihood that college aged women will begin to track their own fertility cycles monthly. 

The Effects of COVID-19 Related Stress on the Menstrual Cycle of College Women

Sarah Jo Schwinn, Doty Ryan, Nicolas Hillenbrand, Jeanie DeLeo, and Dr. Lynne Connelly, Nursing

Reproductive health is an important part of physical and mental health (as evidenced by multiple research studies). Through research, it is understood that stress can negatively impact the menstrual cycle. As COVID has rapidly become a collective life stressor, how is it affecting the menstrual cycle?  

Do ZZZs Get Degrees

Stephanie Laures, Mary McCowen, Nancy Pecha, and Dr. Lynne Connelly, Nursing

For many college students, the importance of sleep in education and individual function is often overshadowed by all-nighters spent cramming for exams and papers. The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship among hours of sleep and GPA in college students. We will be determining this by collecting data from college students from Benedictine College in an on-line survey. The study was approved by the IRB. The data we have collected is average hours of sleep per night and their current GPA. In addition, the study included both males and females, ranging from 18-24 years of age. We used the Pittsburg Sleep Scale, a one item anxiety scale, and a general health question from the SF 36. We will analyze the data using descriptive statistics including Pearson R Coefficients. We expect to find a strong correlation between the 2 variables, but also may have outliers as well, as confounding variables may exist throughout the sample population. We had 188 responses to our survey so far.

Discovery Day 2019

The Effect of Hospitalization on Children

Elizabeth Roth, Jennifer Zrubek, Michele Hinds, Nursing

A hospitalization is a stressful occurrence for anyone, especially children. In 2005, Rhonda Board’s research reported how children perceived their experience in the hospital and their psychosocial effects. Hospitals have strived to ease the experience for children with engaging environments, playrooms, and Child Life specialists who offer the child support and distraction. Despite hospital efforts, children have continued to experience high levels of stress both in the hospital and after their stay. Direct interviews with children revealed feelings of fear and hopelessness. At the same time, the children interviewed also identified the posi¬tive impact of nurses and family-centered care. When children who were previ¬ously hospitalized in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit were asked who helped them the most during their hospital stay, 29% reported it was their families, and 43% answered it was their nurses. This project explores short-term and long-term effects of hospitalization in children and appropriate nursing interventions to ease children’s fears during their stay. Through holistic care and consideration of psy¬chosocial development, nurses can determine appropriate interventions for the wellbeing of their pediatric patients.

Benedictine College Students’ Perceptions of Vaccinations

Matthew Scavuzzo, Joseph Tynan, Frank Paolucci, Lynne Connelly, Nursing

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 732,000 American children were saved from death and 322 million cases of childhood illnesses were prevented between 1994 and 2014 due to vaccination. These numbers show the importance of vaccination to the livelihood of the U.S., and the research has shown that more people are misinformed than properly informed when it comes to vaccination education. Vaccine information is received through a variety of different sources and much of the research concludes with a need for formal education and other programs to be put into place to properly educate everyone. While most of these previously performed studies have engaged in research with demographics of adults, there is not a lot of information that looks at college students and their perceptions and education level regarding vaccinations.

The study in this proposal aims to investigate the relationship between college students’ major topic of study and their opinions and/or other factors surrounding their intention to receive vaccinations or not in the future. Sampling will occur with the students at the Catholic liberal arts school Benedictine College using SurveyMonkey®. Methods include the use of a 14-item survey, consisting of yes/no questions, open-ended questions, and multiple-choice questions, requesting information about gender, age, major topic of study, previous vaccinations, level of education on vaccinations, and the source of this education.

Student Perceptions of Human Papilloma Virus

Madeleine Zignego, Renee Setter, Wendy Woolston, Nursing

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine was introduced to the United States public in 2006. The vaccine has since been updated to include multiple strands of HPV, which have been linked to cervical cancer. The vaccine has been controversial in many groups referencing side effects, lack of knowledge, or moral objections as reasons for not receiving the vaccine. The purpose of this study was to explore if Benedictine College students’ perceptions of the HPV vaccine correlates with their gender, religious beliefs, and/or knowledge about the HPV vaccine. A paper survey was distributed exclusively to Benedictine College students. The participant was first asked to complete a demographics 42 questionnaire and then completed a series of questions related to the virus and the vaccine against it. Data was analyzed using Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences 25 software. The potential benefits of the study include the researcher gaining more knowledge related to Benedictine College students’ perceptions to receive or not receive the HPV vaccination. The survey may prompt students to seek more information about the vaccine; this allows them to personally weigh the risks and benefits of receiving it. The information gathered from this survey could help the researchers develop education to help eliminate misperceptions about the vaccine. As healthcare providers, information gathered through the survey could improve understanding of why students and patients may choose to receive or not receive the vaccine. There were 238 students surveyed. The majority of the students were between the ages 18 and 22, the youngest being 18 and the oldest 27. Of the 238 students, 69.3% were female, and 29.8% were male. Of the surveyed students 33.2% report that they were vaccinated; 35.3% reported they were not vaccinated; 31.5% did not know.

Discovery Day 2018

Health Beliefs and Access to Care Among Residents of San Andrés Itzapa, Guatemala

Victoria Masucci, Michele Hinds

Guatemala is a small country located in Central America, and is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. While Guatemala City, the nation’s capital, has adequate public and private primary care facilities, the access to quality care is limited in rural areas of the country. San Andrés Itzapa, a small, rural town about 38 miles outside of Guatemala City, is an example of an area with insufficient access to quality care. Clinics in San Andrés Itzapa are scarce, and a majority of the population cannot afford to see a private care provider. Lack of overall education, especially related to health, is another factor affecting the health beliefs of Guatemalans. In 11 trips to Guatemala, I have seen the lack of resources available to the rural populations when it comes to healthcare needs. The primary goal of this study is to identify personal health beliefs of the population of San Andrés Itzapa and to determine any barriers in their access to healthcare. Forty-five surveys were collected over two days at the local market. Many of the residents could not read or write, so some of the surveys were read and filled out by a native Guatemalan. After completing the surveys, the participants received a piece of fruit for their contribution to the study. Forty-two surveys were analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. About 75% of the population surveyed were indigenous women. The ages ranged from 20–80, with the average age being 39. Participants associated sickness with physical pain while they perceived health as “being well.” Almost half of the participants stated they go to the public health center for medical services. Study findings suggest that further research is needed to better understand the health needs of this population and ways to enhance the local health services they receive from the public clinic.

Hormones and Your Health

Rachel Clark, Ann Marie Guernsey, Anna Jacobs, Sydney Wolf, Jackie Harris

The purpose of this study was to determine if a presentation given by a Nurse Practitioner within the field of Natural Procreative Technology (NaProTechnology) would yield an increase in college-aged women’s understanding related to their own menstrual cycle, hormonal functions, and common reproductive disorders. A survey, assessing basic reproductive knowledge and NaProTechnology awareness, was administered prior to and following the campus-wide presentation to gather data and assess if the presentation improved participants’ baseline knowledge. The same survey, composed of nine multiple-choice questions, was used both before and after the presentation. Following data analysis, six out of the nine questions showed a statistically significant improvement in correct response, therefore demonstrating an increase in knowledge from the presentation.

Pregnancy Symptoms: An Exploration on How Everyday Activities Affect the Severity of Pregnancy Discomforts

Maria Lanciotti, MaryBridget Pecha, Brittany Bosarge, Katherine Rich, Casey Wagner

The purpose of this study is to examine the connection between a woman’s daily experience of selected pregnancy symptoms and how it affects her daily life. Patients receiving prenatal care at the Women’s Clinic at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, MO, voluntarily participated in this study and gave consent by completing a short questionnaire rating their experience of selected pregnancy symptoms and answering some demographic questions to use in data analysis. Nursing students at Benedictine College worked in collaboration with their nursing professor, Casey Wagner, who is a practicing nurse midwife at the Women’s Clinic at Mosaic Life Care. Data from the questionnaires were analyzed and presented in our poster.

Discovery Day 2017

Caffeine Use and the Impact on Anxiety, Sleep, and Concentration in College Students

Shannon Gore, Natalie Malone, Jillian O’Malley, Kayla Carlson, Lynne Connelly

Caffeine consumption among college students is a popular practice in order to increase energy, productivity, and to counter irregular sleep schedules. Because the drug is self-administered, it is possible that the student may overconsume, creating an adverse reaction, including increased anxiety, tachycardia, and fine motor tremors. The adverse reactions of caffeine consumption, as well as the occurrences of overconsumption, are not well studied among college students. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the way caffeine consumption influences the mental, social, and physical health of college students as manifested by anxiety levels and sleeping patterns. In this descriptive research study, data was collected by survey using Survey Monkey that was communicated by the college FYI email. Participation was voluntary. The sample for the study is approximately 207 Benedictine College students. Respondents were evenly distributed across the four years of college. The majority were females (79%), and 62% consumed three or more caffeine drinks. For respondents, 85% reported feeling anxious or jittery after drinking caffeine beverages. Descriptive correlational statistics will be used to analyze the data to explore the reactions that students experience from caffeine, how caffeine affects test taking, anxiety, sleeping patterns, and other aspects of students’ life. It is hoped that this presentation will increase an awareness of the problems with excessive caffeine consumption.

Caring for Dying Patients

Ruth Gross, Jamie Spiering, Lynne Connelly

This project sought to answer the question, “How can the healthcare worker best care for dying patients?” The research for this project included compiling personal interviews from people who work with the dying and are associated with Benedictine College and both philosophical and theological research. This research yielded a wide variety of answers – from treating physiological symptoms to ministering to the patient’s need for closure in relationships and addressing concerns of family members. In a world full of people who either seek to hasten death or avoid death at all costs, this research begins to reveal how the dying process itself can be meaningful.

The Effects of Medical Honey on Wounds

Lindsay Proffitt, Sadie Hilliard, Lynne Connelly, Amanda Schuster

Currently, the healing of pressure ulcers costs hospitals extensive amounts of money per year. Unhealed pressure ulcers can lead to hospital-acquired infections, and wounds often need multidimensional care of debridement and infection control. Also, there is a large gap between the efficiency of wound management in hospitals and the efficacy of wound healing in clinical trial. Our Discovery project is an evidence-based practice study focused on the effects of medical grade honey and its healing and bacterial growth properties. The aim of the project is to report on recent medical and nursing studies to compare the effectiveness of medical grade honey on the bacterial growth, size, and state of healing in wounds with conventional forms of wound treatment.

Before the study, we wanted to know if medical grade honey would decrease bacterial growth and increase pressure ulcer healing as efficiently as or more efficiently than other forms of conventional treatment. Our hypothesis stated, “Medical grade honey will decrease bacterial growth and increase healing in pressure ulcers as efficiently as other forms of conventional treatment.” In our project, we reviewed 12 articles within the last 10 years using EBSCOHOST and CINAHL databases. Medical grade honey was proven to be effective in reducing healing time in ten out of the twelve articles. In one study, medical grade honey was shown to be equally as effective as silver-coated bandages. Fifty-five percent of patients in another study experienced a decrease in pain while using Medihoney. Medihoney was found effective in awakening and cleaning out the wound bed to promote healing. Medihoney was also proven to be successful debridement in 86% of wounds. Limitations of the study include: research of medical honey is not easily generalized and is mostly descriptive. More research is needed for its use on specific types of wounds. Medihoney is becoming a mainstream treatment option for wounds. Nurses should have knowledge about this wound treatment option as it can make them a better patient advocate.

The Effects of the Level of Education on the Anxiety and Fear of Death and Dying

Rachel Snyder, Krista Kosek, Alexandra Faraj-Musleh, Sydney Moser, Lynne Connelly

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship among anxiety and fear of death and the education level attained by participants. The topic of death is often associated with anxiety among college students due to fear of the unknown and unpredictability. Many developmental psychologists have studied how death affects children, and, as a result, care has been able to be more greatly catered to a child’s age level when nursing interventions are necessary related to death. However, there have been minimal studies on how fears of death affect college-aged people. Establishing if and how education level plays a role in the level of anxiety and fear of death is important to address properly this population’s needs. Responding to the need for more research and using a quantitative research model, we have used the 42-item Multidimensional Fear of Death survey with added demographic questions to determine whether there is a correlation between life experiences and levels of fear of death and dying. The survey was sent to students at Benedictine College as well as Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. The data was analyzed through descriptive and correlational statistical tests. In further analysis, the findings from Benedictine College will be compared to the findings from Christendom College as well as the research literature.

Raising Awareness: Childhood Malnutrition in Guatemala

Victoria Masucci, Michele Hinds

Malnutrition is a global issue seen in every country of the world. The populations most affected by malnutrition are women and children. The first 1,000 days of a child’s life (from conception to their second birthday) play a critical role in their physical health and neurodevelopment. Over 200 million children in developing nations do not meet their developmental potential (UNICEF). Children are at higher risk because malnutrition affects their continuous growth. A breastfeeding mother’s nutrition can directly affect her child’s growth and development. Fifty-six percent of Guatemalan mothers breastfeed within the first hour of birth. I have travelled to Guatemala nine times and have witnessed malnutrition in children firsthand. This descriptive study examined malnutrition in Guatemala using available data resources. In some regions of Guatemala, 80% of indigenous (Mayan) children are malnourished (UNICEF). The purpose of this study is to investigate viable solutions for Guatemala. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and compared malnutrition indicators in Guatemala with data from the United States. Malnutrition and its clinical manifestations were discussed, as well as its effects on cognition and physical development. Typical diet and food availability were discussed. There are many contributing factors to malnutrition in Guatemala, such as poverty, women education, geographical location, and environmental factors.

Test Anxiety at Benedictine College: A Comparison Between General Education Students and Nursing Students

Susan Pistek, Anna Hagenkord, Allison Leitz, Hanah Suarez, Lynne Connelly

There is a lack of consistent research on the effects of test anxiety among college students when comparing different majors, particularly nursing. In one review, highly anxious students scored 12 percentile points below their low-anxiety peers, making this a serious academic issue. We conducted a study on the effects of test anxiety on students’ academic performance at Benedictine College. A cross-sectional study method was used with a sample of approximately 100-150 surveys based on power analysis of similar studies. We distributed a test anxiety survey to various students from different major departments. The Westside Test Anxiety Scale is a 10-item instrument that identifies different variables that students identify would raise their anxiety level and has been used on other studies with adequate reliability and validity. Demographic questions were also included. The survey was administered online through the Benedictine College’s FYI service with a link connecting the user to the Survey Monkey website. We plan to do a comparative analysis using correlational and descriptive statistics of our study data in order to distinguish if different majors have an effect on higher anxiety levels, and in turn, academic performance. We also will perform a systematic review of the literature to compare our findings to research that has already been done on this subject.

Discovery Day 2016

Assessment of Women’s Health Knowledge

Mary Minnis, Natalie Roberts, Lynne Connelly

Women’s health is a topic controversially defined varying from a women’s menstruation cycle to the rights to contraceptives. The health of a woman can be understood better by the different biomarkers identifying hormonal changes in the body relating to fertility. With new research from the World Youth Alliance, it is found that few women actually can define when the last time they ovulated was even though it is a great identifier to one’s health. This project focuses on the knowledge women have of their own health and cycles. The goal is to see if our research lines up with that of the World Youth Alliance and also assess the need for fertility education classes. Survey questions include demographics, study in a healthcare field, time since last sexual education class, a variety of questions relating to fertility identification, and confidence in knowledge of fertility and in knowledge of our own fertility. Analysis will note if there is a correlation between any of these groups and address the need for this type of class. Additional analysis will be done with correlational statistics and will be included in our presentation. The results of our study will be provided to the clinic staff.

The Effects of Perinatal Hospice on Mothers

Melissa Ott, Theresa Ott, Therese McCance, Morgan Schumacher, Lynne Connelly

An evidence-based practice research study was performed to determine the effects that perinatal hospice has on mothers whose unborn child has been affected by a fetal anomaly. The objectives of the study included identifying the most beneficial care provided to mothers by health care providers. Using keywords such as perinatal death, perinatal palliative care, effects on mothers of perinatal hospice, and perinatal hospice, databases were searched for research articles in ProQuest, EBSCHOST, and Medline. In addition, the ancestry method was used to search for additional articles. The abstracts for the articles were reviewed, and the number of appropriate research articles was narrowed down to 12 articles. These articles regarding perinatal hospice and perinatal death were then analyzed using criteria for each type of research study. The population included others who continued a pregnancy affected by a fetal anomaly. The research designs included qualitative descriptive, quantitative, and narrative analysis. Upon analysis, perinatal hospice allows mothers to prepare for and experience the birth and bonding that occurs before and after birth. In providing perinatal hospice, nursing implications were also analyzed. Nursing implications included encouragement of mother and child interaction, listening and clarifying the mother’s thoughts and feelings, and preparing mementoes. Perinatal hospice is a compassionate and supportive option for mothers whose unborn child is diagnosed with a fetal anomaly.

How Nursing Patient Education and Communication Can Learn From the Educational Model of Teaching Individuals With Intellectual Disability

Krista Kosek, Matthew Ramsey

The purpose of this study is to examine the needs of individuals with disabilities in the health care system, specifically how nursing staff can effectively communicate with those who have significant limitations in their ability to share symptoms, levels of pain, and other necessary medical information. With the understanding that pre-service instruction for nurses lacks in methods and training to communicate with this population, I turn to the field of special education for a deeper understanding of the characteristics, behaviors, and family factors associated with students identified as having intellectual disabilities. A review of the literature in both nursing and education will aid me in researching case study(s) based on family experience receiving medical treatment. Using Yin’s (2009) model, I will construct a series of case studies charting the experience of these families. The case studies will serve to inform answers to the following research question: “What can nursing learn from special education about the communication needs of individuals with intellectual disabilities during medical treatment?”

Knowledge Deficit in Patients With Diabetes

Alexandra Faraj-Musleh, Rachel Snyder, Lynne Connelly

People with diabetes require education in order to manage their condition on a daily basis. The purpose of our preliminary study was to assess patients with diabetes about their understanding of the disease and how to care for their health. Research literature was searched, and an appropriate survey instrument was found that had adequate reliability and validity. This survey was reviewed by nursing faculty and the health care provider at the clinic. Minor wording changes were made to fit each population to be studied. The survey was distributed at the Atchison Community Health Clinic with the assistance of the nursing staff. We received 12 completed forms from patients at the clinic. The survey was also emailed to students and faculty with diabetes at Benedictine College via Benedictine College FYI. Completion of the survey was considered to be implied consent, and the study was reviewed by the college IRB. Data was entered into Excel® and analyzed using descriptive and correlational statistics. In addition, the findings from the community clinic patients were compared to the findings from the college population. Our findings will be used to develop and then test a brief education intervention to be used at the community clinic in the next school year. Findings will be shared with clinic staff as well as at Discovery Day.

Patient Satisfaction Surveys at the Benedictine College Student Health Clinic

Elizabeth Medina, Julia Reinhardt, Sierra Esau, Maria Sergeant, Emily Prosser, Lynne Connelly

The use of a satisfaction survey is essential for the healthcare environment in order to improve the experience of the patient. At Benedictine College, the student health clinic staff has expressed a desire to participate in receiving feedback from students who use the clinic. Therefore, our study is both a research and service project for the Student Health Center. This group project gathered data and information from the students seen in the Benedictine Student Health Clinic. The survey measurement tool is one that we used last year with the Atchison Community Clinic and worked well to collect data. Slight wording changes were made to apply to college students, and it was reviewed by nursing faculty. Because the survey had an instruction sheet with consent information and it was voluntary and anonymous, completing the survey was considered implied consent. Each week, we collected the surveys and entered the data into Microsoft Excel for analysis. When we collected a total of over 100 completed surveys, we analyzed the data using descriptive and correlation statistics. In addition to presenting the findings at Discovery Day, we will then present the findings to the clinic staff.

Relationships Between Interpersonal Variables, Such as Age, Gender, Athletic Participation, and Collegiate Academics

Erin Daly, Kallie Woodward, Emily Kippes, Rebecca Koehn, Lynne Connelly

The objective of this study was to determine if associations exist between interpersonal variables, such as age, gender, athletic participation, or collegiate field of study and one’s quality and quantity of sleep. Participants were all Benedictine College students who volunteered to participate in the study. The Institutional Review Board at Benedictine College approved the study. All study participants completed an online survey, which was created by the researchers and completion of the survey was considered implied consent. The survey combined the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Scale with various demographic questions related to the interpersonal variables being studied. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Scale is a well-tested scale with adequate reliability and validity. Descriptive and correlational statistics were used to analyze the data. This study adds to current research regarding sleep among college students, especially with regard to the students’ academic field of study and their participation in varsity athletics.

Discovery Day 2014

Bacteria and Cell Phones

Michael Collins, Catherine Barr, April Miller, Kia Grable, Sarah Weber, Constance Hallberg, Lynne Connelly

Bacteria have the ability to grow almost anywhere and everywhere as long as conditions are met for their survival. Certain species can spread both by touch and by air. For these reasons, cell phones of Benedictine College students were tested for the bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Results from cell phones belonging to nursing, pre-nursing, and athletic training majors were compared with results from cell phones belonging to other Benedictine College students. Last year the Amino Center also was tested for these bacteria, and they were found on various pieces of exercise equipment in the Amino Center. Based on the results of last year’s tests, a new protocol for cleaning the equipment was given to the cleaning staff. To better control the chances of an outbreak once again among the students, the Amino Center will be tested again to test the effectiveness of the new protocol.

Be the Light for Mobility Safety on the Benedictine College Campus

Hilary Pflug, Allison McCormick, Alexandra Rysavy, Michele Hinds

Benedictine College had noticeably more individuals with limited mobility on campus during the fall 2013 semester. Concern about accessibility for people with limited mobility on the campus of Benedictine College prompted the senior nursing class to conduct a community assessment research project exploring mobility safety on Benedictine College’s campus. The Discovery project analyzes data collected, highlights significant findings, and offers recommendations to facilitate accessibility. The research includes assessments of sidewalks throughout campus and residential and academic buildings. Also, the research team interviewed students, faculty, and staff of Benedictine College in order to get a better understanding of strengths and weaknesses of accessibility of the campus. This Discovery project provides insight into the level of accessibility and offers recommendations for mobility safety on Benedictine College’s campus. Finally, the objective of these recommendations is to provide practical solutions for improving the quality of life for persons with limited mobility on Benedictine College’s campus.

Beyond Care of Sick Brothers: The Influence of the Rule Upon Nursing Practice

Abigail Hamel, Bridget Conry, Michele Hinds

As Benedictine College students, we learn the values of hospitality and compassion. As nursing students, understanding the Rule of St. Benedict is important to us because we learn the skills of nursing through which we live those values. The purpose of the qualitative review of the Rule of St. Benedict 1980 is to answer our question of how the Rule can be used in nursing practice to make us better nurses. We are accomplishing this by first reading the Rule and reflecting on how each section could help us. We meet, discuss our ideas with each other, and then we share our mutual thoughts with our faculty advisor. We use our clinical and classroom experiences to establish our own views on the impact the Rule of St. Benedict has on a nursing student. The Rule states that “care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ” (RB 36:1). This quote interested us in researching this topic because it combines what we are learning about nursing care with the values we have as Benedictine students. Our poster presentation demonstrates what we have discovered through our research.

Coping Mechanisms During Times of Stress, Specifically in Benedictine College Students During Exam Time

Jacquelyn Neuner, Crystal Young, Nicoline Kuadzem, Lynne Connelly

The purpose of this study is to determine the coping mechanisms used by Benedictine College students during times of stress, such as studying for exams or when there are many assignments. A self-report survey was used to collect data on both positive and negative coping mechanisms. This descriptive study was approved by the IRB, and no coercion to participate was used at any time. Data was collected from the general undergraduate student population. The self-report survey, sent out by email with a Survey Monkey link, was designed to collect information regarding specific forms of coping mechanisms students use during times of stress, such as exercise or stimulant use, the success of these coping mechanisms, and selected demographic data. The data obtained from surveys identifies the most common coping mechanisms Benedictine students use during times of stress, as well as if the students believe they had the desired effect. An analysis of the data obtained will be used to inform Benedictine College of risk factors and modifiable variables that may decrease the prevalence of negative coping mechanisms. Data will be analyzed using correlational and descriptive statistics. The findings should provide a baseline with suggestions for how better to support students in the future.

Diabetic Management During the Transition From High School to College

Katarina Hemstad, Jeffrey Reimer, Alexandra Rysavy, Lynne Connelly

The overall purpose of this Discovery project is to determine the effects on transitioning from high school to college on student management of type 1 diabetes. This is a descriptive, self-report survey study. Data was collected from the general undergraduate population, specifically students with type 2 diabetes during this transition period and the factors that contribute to it. The survey has Likert scale questions and an open-ended question for written comments. We collected basic demographics, age, year in college, but no identifying information. Descriptive and correlational statistics were used to answer the research questions. The data obtained from surveys was used to identify common characteristics of management among diabetic students, factors that affect management, and student perception regarding research from the previous qualitative study conducted last year on Benedictine College students with diabetes. An analysis of the data obtained will be used to inform Benedictine College of ways to help students with type 1 diabetes make the transition while maintaining good diabetic management practices.

Do College Students Understand Portion Size?

Maura Anderson, Kathleen Doetsch, Lynne Connelly

College students hail from a variety of backgrounds with unique academic needs. Understanding basic nutrition in order to make healthy choices throughout college is an important skill that all students should possess. The purpose of this study is to determine the level of Benedictine College students’ understanding of portion control of food before their first college-level nutrition course. This study will use a descriptive survey design to collect data. Students who have not yet taken a nutrition course in college were asked to participate in an online survey. In this survey, various serving sizes of different food groups were described, and the students were asked to choose which option best represents the serving size recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. Straightforward language and direct quotes from the government website were used to minimize confusion and ensure accurate assessment of student’s understanding. Data from these surveys was analyzed and organized. This study may be continued next year with a follow-up survey measuring students’ retention of information post-nutrition course. The data collected from this study may be presented to the instructor of nutritional courses possibly to be used as a benchmark of the incoming students’ understanding of nutrition.

The Effects of Interruptions on Drug Calculations and Errors in Nursing Students

Alsiha Hafner, Maree Lehman, Ashley Washburn, Lynne Connelly

Medication errors caused by interruptions are the third most common cause of unintentional patient harm, and every year at least 1.5 million Americans are harmed in some way by medication errors. The overall purpose of this study was to determine if interruptions cause errors during drug calculations among nursing students suggesting similar results to working nurses. Participants were divided into two groups: one control, one experimental. For assignment to groups, we wanted an equal number of junior and senior nursing students in both groups. The control group was then given a sheet with drug calculations to complete in the lab with a given time limit of seven minutes. The next day the experimental group took the intervention test with the same questions within the same time limit. During the intervention test, participants were interrupted by background music, irrelevant questions directed to them, and distracting tasks. Errors were defined as follows: calculations not completed within the time frame, wrong answers, mislabeled and unlabeled answers, and answers illogically derived. Following the completion of the time frame given to participants, each researcher independently reviewed the participants’ answers to analyze results and check for errors; then, results were compared among the three researchers. The researchers reviewed participants’ answers to determine the number of errors made and compared the control and intervention groups’ answers using a t-test.

Discovery Day 2015

The Efficacy and Use of Medical Marijuana

Marybeth Kluesner, Maria Hartley, Katherine Davis, Kayla Oatney, Teresa Gamez, Lynne Connelly

Medical marijuana is becoming a hotly debated topic in the medical world as well as in the general community. With the extensive controversy as to why it should be legalized, it was the interest of the students involved to research the efficacy and what it means for nurses rather than legalization. This is an area where nurses and physicians need to be well-informed in order to discuss the topic with patients and the public. The purpose of this study is to determine the uses and routes for medical marijuana, the efficacy for different diagnoses, and the nursing implications related to medical marijuana use. An evidence-based practice study was done using a systematic review approach. Standard key words were used in three nursing and medical databases and also the use of the ancestry method to identify other publications. Standardized critiquing criteria were decided upon and used to review each study. Within the 10 research articles reviewed, there were 2,531 participants involved in the research. Medical marijuana was used to treat Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, anxiety, mood, and as an appetite stimulant for patients with cancer. The effectiveness in treating those diagnoses and symptoms as well as the methods for administration are explored through the research reviewed in this study. A wide variety of designs were used, and the limitations of this research reviewed will be discussed. The implications for nursing and medical practice and future research also will be presented.

The Lived Influence of the Rule in Nursing Practice

Abigail Hamel, Bridget Conry, Melissa Ott, Theresa Ott, Michele Hinds

The Rule of St. Benedict states, “Care of the sick must rank above and before all else, so that they may truly be served as Christ” (RB 36:1). As nursing students, we were inspired by this quote. In our Discovery Day Project of Spring 2014, “Beyond Care of Sick Brothers: The Influence of the Rule upon Nursing Practice,” we identified our own perception of themes from the Rule that could help guide our nursing practice. Building upon our original project, we continued our study this year. The purpose of the present study was to describe how nurses with a commitment to the Rule of St. Benedict use it in their nursing practice. In this qualitative case study, we interviewed three registered nurses associated with various Benedictine communities as either professed religious or oblates of St. Benedict. The interviews lasted from 15 to 20 minutes; they were transcribed verbatim and inductively analyzed using qualitative content analysis. From our analysis, themes of influence identified included: the importance of listening, seeing Christ in everyone, and caring for more than the physical ailments of others. Each nurse gave specific examples of how they used these ideas in their nursing care. The themes that emerged from the data clearly demonstrated that the participants were influenced by the Rule in their practice. The implications for other nurses and nursing students as well as next steps for research that will be discussed in our presentation.

Patient Satisfaction Surveys

Mary Minnis, Elizabeth Medina, Natalie Roberts, Lynne Connelly

Patient satisfaction surveys are important to capture the patient experience with health care and to plan for improvements. Although satisfaction surveys are used by most hospitals, ambulatory care is often overlooked. The Local Community Health clinic is a safety-net clinic providing care for patients without insurance and limited access to healthcare. Many Benedictine nursing students volunteer at this clinic. The objective of our study was to determine the level of a patient’s satisfaction with the clinic. After informed consent, patients who were seen at the clinic over a one-month period were asked to complete a satisfaction survey. Survey questions included demographics, ranking of qualities at the clinic, and comments. The 71 patients in our sample had an average age of 46 years old (range 18 to 62). The majority was male (71%). Reasons for visits included medical appointments (60), dental (6), and no response (5). On average, the patients rated their health fair to good (2.831, on a 5-point scale), but rated their emotional health higher (3.11). The patients in this sample rated the care provider (usually a nurse practitioner) high (4.64 on a 5-point scale) and the highest score was received for a helpful and friendly staff (4.71). The lowest rated area was waiting time when they did not have an appointment (3.41) and the clinic hours available (3.71). Additional analysis will be done with correlational statistics and will be included in our presentation. The results of our study will be provided to the clinic staff.

Quality Improvement Descriptive Study of Diabetic Management of a Free Clinic

Bridget Conry, Madeleine Alles, Abigail Hamel, Charlotte Michels, Carly Steinlage, Lynne Connelly

Consistent implementation of charting in-patient medical records is a crucial necessity in patient care because records indicate that appropriate assessments and interventions have been implemented. Diabetic patients, particularly those without health insurance and those who do not receive care on a consistent basis, are at increased risk for deteriorating health conditions and complications when regular follow-up care and proper monitoring of their condition is neglected. We were asked by the staff of a free health clinic to conduct a chart review in order to ensure they were consistently adhering to standards of care and documentation for their patients with diabetes. We assessed 35 records randomly selected by clinic personnel and extracted data from the electronic medical record. Data entry was checked again by another student. The sample was 54% (19) males and 46% (16) females who were seen between September and October 2014. The average age was 49 years old, with a range of 26-63. Weight was recorded on 100% of the patients, and blood pressure was documented in 97% of the charts. The documentation of diabetic education was 94%. Hemoglobin A1C and lipids were noted on 88% of charts, and foot exams were 54% and dilated eye examinations was 57%. The item that was documented the least was the annual flu vaccine at 46%. The findings were shared with clinical staff with the goal of assisting them to improve quality of care and appropriate documentation.

Discovery Day 2013

College Students With Diabetes Mellitus Transitioning from High School

Andrew Nistler, Alexandra Rysavy, Katarina Hemstad, Lynne Connelly

The overall purpose of this qualitative case study is to see how college students with diabetes mellitus manage their diabetes when transitioning from high school to college. The adjustment from high school to college can naturally be a stressful experience in a person’s life. The aim of the study is to identify this relationship and to see whether or not this transition adds more stress and struggle to them managing their illness. Our research team interviewed five students. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the interviews, and interviews were audio taped and transcribed before analysis and coding of the data. Codes then were organized into categories, and a description was developed of each student’s experience. Then a cross-case analysis was done to identify similarities and differences between cases. We are continuing to analyze the data, but our preliminary results suggest there is a similar relationship between the control a person had on his or her diabetes in high school and college. Students in our study described some struggle with their diabetes at first while adapting to the new college environment. Once they had adapted to the college environment, then the control they had on their diabetes was basically the equivalent to the control they had on their diabetes in high school. Students also talked about the positive effects support from others have on managing their diabetes. It appears the first months of college are crucial to making a successful transition to independence and diabetes control for college students.

Effect of Prayer on Terminal Cancer Patients

Kelly Turntine, Katherine Williamson, Marie Noga, Lynne Connelly

Despite the de-emphasis on spirituality and prayer interventions in the medical world, many people, including Catholics, believe prayer can make a difference in the medical outcomes of people. Our team conducted an Evidence-Based Practice study to examine the question of whether spirituality and prayer has an effect on terminally ill cancer patients. Standard search procedures were used to locate articles in the CINAHL, ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source Journals, and MEDLINE databases. In addition, ancestry method was used to review references from the initial articles we located. The following key words were used: prayer, cancer, spirituality, terminally-ill, religion, intervention, nursing. Eleven articles were found that meet the inclusion criteria. The findings from the literature review suggests that prayer does indeed have a positive effect on the patient’s outcomes, specially reported emotional well-being and increased spiritual well-being. These findings suggest this area warrants further research.

The Effects of 12-Hour Shifts on Nurses

Natalie Henson, Jessica Raplinger, Kathleen O’Grady, Lynne Connelly

Studies have shown that successive 12-hour shifts for U.S. hospital nurses leaves many with serious sleep deprivation, higher risk of health problems, and more odds of making patient errors. Studies have documented that nurses routinely work 13 or more hours and that is without either voluntary or mandatory overtime. Add a commute to the RN work schedule, plus duties at home, the nurses simply do not sleep enough. The purpose of the project was to determine what effects 12-hour shifts have physiologically and behaviorally on nurses. Standard search procedures were used to locate relevant research papers. Three databases (MEDLINE, ProQuest for Nursing and Allied Health Journals, CINAHL) were searched, and eight articles were identified using the period 1990-2012. Only those papers that focused on the effects of chronic partial and total sleep deprivation for a single night, extended work shifts, and strategies to reduce fatigue-related errors and accidents were included in this review. Search terms included chronic partial sleep deprivation, fatigue, fatigue countermeasures, extended work shifts, napping, overtime, performance, registered nurses, rest breaks, sleep loss, sleep restriction, staff nurses, total sleep deprivation, and vigilance. We found the likelihood of making errors significantly increases after exceeding 12-hour shifts (overtime). In addition, the last four hours of 12-hour shifts were found to have the most errors. Furthermore, fatigue, caused by working too many hours and sleeping too few hours results in profound sleepiness that can deteriorate alertness, productivity, and safe patient care. Implications for practice will be found on the poster.

Felty’s Syndrom: A Case Study

Maura Anderson, Wendy Woolston

Felty’s Syndrome is a triad of symptoms: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Splenomegaly, and Leucoctopnea. This is a rare disorder affecting 1% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis; however, for many patients, this syndrome can be deadly. In addition, this syndrome is difficult to diagnose and produces many complications. There is little nursing or medical research

available on this syndrome, thus making this a valuable study. The purpose of this descriptive, qualitative case study was to develop a comprehensive, context-bound understanding of one client’s struggle with Feltly’s Syndrome. The subject was a 54-year-old Caucasian female with Felty’s Syndrome. The primary research method was interview, and several interviews were needed to obtain the subject’s entire health history and a description of her coping mechanisms. The narrative data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Data was coded, and then constant comparative analysis was done to compare and contrast meaning units within the data. Codes were organized into categories, and then overall themes were developed. After the case is analyzed, we will compare our findings to what is known from the literature. The data is continuing to be analyzed, but our preliminary findings for our case study subject was that this is a complex medical syndrome that affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life, and it can produce a struggle for many years before a definite diagnosis is made, increasing the problems the subject faced.

Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Therapy in Autism

Catherine Tibbetts, Victoria Petruccelli, Angela Porretta, Lynne Connelly

There have been many therapies employed to try to help patients, particularly children, who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The use of alternative treatments, especially elimination diets, has received a great deal of attention in the media and on the internet. We wanted to know if there was any current research done providing medical evidence for the use of dietary modification. Our team conducted an Evidence-Based Practice study to answer the question of whether or not alternative dietary treatments, specifically Gluten-free and Casein-free diet (GFCF), were significantly effective in symptom management in children with ASD. We used standard search procedures to search the CINAHL, MEDLINE and PubMed databases with the following keywords: autism, diet, nutrition, intervention, alternative therapy, gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF), and children. We initially located 20 relevant articles, and eight met our criteria for inclusion in this study. Inclusion criteria included children with ASD and another developmental disorder placed on an alternative GFCF diet therapy or already on a diet therapy and observed for nutrient intake and behavioral/cognitive improvements. Our results indicated there were no statistically significant improvements in behavioral, physical, or cognitive symptoms. However, there were no significant decreases in these symptoms either. Parents, however, reported improvements in symptoms from their own observations of the children. Some limitations of these studies included the small population and sample size, the short-term course of the studies, and their heterologous nature. Our results indicated further research was necessary using longitudinal studies with homogeneous sample sizes.

Nursing Medication Errors Caused by Interruptions

Ashley Washburn, Maree Lehman, Alisha Hafner, Lynne Connelly

As nursing students, we have become concerned with the effects of interruptions on medication errors. A medication error is any preventable event related to medication administration caused by a health care provider. This has become a significant problem within the health care industry because it has led to an increase in health care costs, further patient complications, and, in extreme situations, patient fatalities. We used standard search procedures of the following databases: MEDLINE plus, CINAHL and ProQuest for Nursing and Allied Health Journals. Our research team initially found 30 articles, using the code words interruptions, medication errors, and nurses, they were then narrowed down to seven articles that met our inclusion criteria. Our criteria include any articles published in the last 10 years related to medication errors and the effects interruptions have on them. Our preliminary findings suggest that interruptions are a major factor influencing medication errors. This presentation will focus on the common causes of medication errors made by nurses. This study is a preliminary review of the literature to prepare our team for a simulation study examining interruptions and errors.

Precision and Accuracy of Automatic Blood Pressure Cuffs

Luke Gross, Patrick Klump, Kelley Farson, Lynne Connelly

Automatic blood pressure cuffs are widely used in today’s hospitals. Many drugs rely on a blood pressure reading to determine the dosage given to the patient. Thus, dosage errors can occur if the reading is inaccurate. Also, patients can be misdiagnosed with high blood pressure if the blood pressure measurements are inaccurate. Thus, it is important to make sure that automatic blood pressure devices are accurate. The purpose of the study was to identify the precision and accuracy of the Sure Signs VS3 automatic blood pressure machine that is used at the Atchison Hospital. Readings from this machine were then compared to a Spirit CK-110 manual blood pressure cuff and an Omron BP-710 automatic cuff to determine its precision and accuracy. After IRB approval, 28 Benedictine College students were measured using the Sure Signs VS3 and the manual Spirit CK-110. Fifteen students also had an Omron BP-710 reading done as well. A Bland-Altman plot and t-test were used to analyze the accuracy and precision of the automatic blood pressure cuff in comparison to the manual blood pressure cuff. A second Bland-Altman plot and t-test were done to compare the two automatic blood pressure machines. Our preliminary findings are that the automatic and manual cuffs provide similar blood pressures, but the blood pressures from home blood pressure cuffs were not as close to the other two.

Spread of Bacteria in Health Care and Sports Facilities

Jeremy Berfanger, Moses Kato, Michael Collins, Lauren Kostecki, Alexandria Rossato, Karina Estee, Lynne Connelly,

An estimated 1.7 million patients acquire infections in hospitals each year. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) are the cause of many hospital-acquired infections. Another area of concern is athletic training equipment used by multiple athletes. There have been an increasing number of outbreaks of MRSA colonization and infection through skin contact in locker rooms and gyms, even among health populations in studies conducted in Texas. MRSA is a gram positive “superbug” with resistance to certain antibiotics and cephalosporins. Once infected, patients require extensive treatment with stronger antibiotics and may require surgery. In 2005, the CDC reported 18,000 deaths from MRSA. Escherichia coli is another common health risk in the community as well as in the hospital setting. It is primarily transmitted via the fecal-oral route and indicates fecal contamination. E.coli, if left untreated, can lead to many serious conditions. The research question for this collaborative study with the Biology and Nursing departments was “What is the prevalence of MRSA and E. coli in blood pressure cuffs and pulse oximeters and selected athletic equipment used at three different sites: a local health care facility, the Benedictine College skills laboratory, and the Benedictine Athletic Department?” We collected samples from the equipment used at these facilities and cultured the samples for MRSA and E. coli. Once the samples were cultured, we used comparative analysis among the three facilities. Our findings were that athletic equipment had the highest incident of bacteria for which we cultured.

Discovery Day 2012

Communicable Diseases and Their Effect on Class Attendance

Vincent Scavuzzo, Lynne Connelly

The purpose of this project was to examine the effect of communicable diseases on class attendance. The data attained for the study were derived through two different approaches. Both approaches were used to find correlations between communicable diseases and class attendance from self-reports. The larger study was a campus-wide survey using Survey Monkey that included 33 questions. Results were that 313 students responded to the survey request with a total of 258 completed surveys. On average, students missed 2.78 days per semester with an average of 1.47 missed because of communicable diseases. The survey focused on having students report certain attributes that may have made them more prone to becoming sick in the fall 2011 semester. The data collected was used to identify trends that made students more or less likely to become sick in the fall 2011 semester. The second small study was conducted with both junior and senior nursing classes. The study consisted of 42 students and will be used as a pilot study for future research. In this study, students were given personal hand sanitizers and were asked to wash their hands twice a day. An alcohol hand sanitizer was also placed in the classroom and facility lounge. The purpose of this study is to see if a basic intervention will have an effect on the number of illnesses.

Stress Levels of College Students at Benedictine College as Indicated By Cortisol Levels

Gabrielle Mullins, Stacie Cook, Lynne Connelly, Constance Hallberg, Adam Buhman-Wiggs

Stress is a difficult concept to define concretely. Different people have different concepts of what is stressful. However, all humans experience stress, whether it is physical, emotional, psychological, or social. Cortisol is a chemical the body creates in the kidneys and circulates in times of increased stress. For this reason, one can measure how stressed a person is by measuring how high his or her cortisol level is. This investigation involved several disciplines spanning nursing, biology, and psychology. Our study measured the stress levels of 45 voluntary undergraduate college students. We sampled urinary cortisol levels and administered a brief psychological stress scale (PSS) questionnaire as well as basic demographic information was collected. Furthermore, the study explored factors contributing to increased student stress by investigating the relationships between cortisol, PSS, and factors such as academic major, course load, academic standing, extracurricular involvement, and basic demographic parameters. We found that the baseline level of stress at Benedictine College was greater than the average stress levels of young adults. We also found that the levels of stress as indicated by both the PSS tool and cortisol levels did not vary significantly between science and non-science majors. We also gathered valuable information about the major contributors to student stress.

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