Thursday, May 1, was a day of “angst” and “celebration” for the pre-nursing students in Dr. Sandra Millon Underwood’s Nursing 300 class. It was during this occasion students enrolled in Nursing 300: Foundations of Nursing Research showcased and presented outcomes of selected research studies at the “Gallery Walk” in Upper Main Place of Wyllie Hall. Each student selected a topic for review, critique, and presentation which they found interesting or which they had a vested interest. The exercise — which required students to highlight on a poster the key components of the study from the selected study — aimed to reinforce for the students the principles, purpose, methods and significance of the research process. Included among the topics of interest presented by the students were: euthanasia, dying well, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), depression in patients with alopecia, and condom usage and the transmission of HIV.
If you have ever had a class with Dr. Underwood you have heard her say “because it matters”. The students presented on many of these topics because in some way their life it has mattered. No one really wants to talk about death and dying but it is an eventuality we all have to face so why not start a conversation about it that could possibly lead to changes in policy and patient care? The student that presented on this topic did so because she transferred to Parkside so she could take care of her grandmother whose health was failing. The student that presented on PCOS did so because she suffers from it. PCOS is a disease that causes hormonal imbalances in women that will often cause infertility, diabetes, obesity, and abnormal hair growth. Alopecia is a condition that causes hair to suddenly and inexplicably fall out. The student presenting on this had the condition in her youth. The student that presented research about condom usage and HIV transmission has multiple people in her life that are HIV positive. While she was presenting she commented, “HIV is 100% preventable and it could be gone in one generation if we just used condoms”.
Research is integral to medicine and our lives. It impacts medical decisions and the way doctors, nurses and other health care medical professionals treat patients. It also can affect if and how patients seek medical attention. The research showcased by the students lead to discussion, contemplation, and a greater awareness of the need for further research. For the students the research presented was more than a selected topic for discussion. The research represented our face, our selves, and our peers. This exercise and presentation provided us an opportunity to think more closely about our lived experience and to think more closely about the experiences of others within our sphere of influence. Before the presentation, many of us asked ourselves why our professor believed this was so critical to our learning experience here at UWP? Now that we have completed it, we understand that searching for knowledge, and re-searching matters. We also learned in the process that even as students we can make a tremendous difference.
Guest Article by Kathryn R Rotsch