NEWS | June 8, 2017

UC Davis nursing graduate students showcase scholarly work at academic symposium


From preparing health workers for better emergency response and improving monitoring for those with hypertension to restoring dignity to homeless women and identifying mental health access for young victims of trauma, the scope of work undertaken by students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis ranges from clinical to community, from birth to end of life.

Graduate students present doctoral dissertations, master's-degree theses and interprofessional evidenced-based research projects at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis annual Academic Symposium. Graduate students present doctoral dissertations, master's-degree theses and interprofessional evidenced-based research projects at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis annual Academic Symposium.

Graduate students pursuing doctoral and master’s degrees present their scholarly work at the 2017 Academic Symposium June 9 at the UC Davis Sacramento campus. For the students who earn degrees from the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs this year, the event represents the culmination of their studies and the final step before graduation.

“Academic Symposium is as significant in our students’ academic life as graduation. It signals a culmination of scholarly work—not just in the classroom, in courses and in community and clinical fieldwork, integrating and developing new understandings and new research,” said Heather Young, founding dean at the School of Nursing. “These theses, dissertations and interprofessional research projects are the capstone of students’ experiences here at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.”

First-year master’s-degree leadership students will present poster presentations from their Community Connections coursework, which partners them with area agencies to develop systemwide solutions for those organizations.

Those from UC Davis Health and visitors from the greater community are invited to experience how these students deliver on the school’s vision to advance nursing to become leaders in clinics, communities and classrooms.

All of the students scheduled to present are in one of five School of Nursing graduate programs led by the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, an interprofessional team of more than 55 faculty members from various disciplines. Students working toward the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership must complete a dissertation. Master’s-degree leadership students must complete a thesis and physician assistant, nurse practitioner and nursing graduate students in the school’s clinical programs conduct interprofessional research projects.

Projects slated for presentation at the symposium include:

“Development of a Mobile Application for Disaster Preparedness and Response for Healthcare Professionals:” The attacks on 9/11 changed Americans’ day-to-day habits and altered the way emergency response agencies prepared for disasters. The events of that day made a profound impact on Wendin Gulbransen as well. Nearly sixteen years later, Gulbransen gets one step closer with her master’s-degree thesis at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. “My aim was to create a way that, in a matter of minutes, health care professionals could reach into their pocket and access information to help them lead, guide and direct response to an overwhelming event that affects their hospital or community,” said the emergency department nurse at Kaiser Permanente in South Sacramento. “It needed to be easy to follow and engaging.” This work demonstrates how innovative technology enhances expertise and promises to remove an obstacle to providing quality care.

“Childhood Trauma and Mental Health Care Access: Two out of three American adults experienced trauma as a child. Those are the numbers. Behind the data are countless stories master’s-degree leadership student Victoria Conlu set out to uncover if and when intervention might mitigate poor outcomes in the long run. For her study, she conducted a data analysis of the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health to determine what factors had the strongest link to trauma victims and mental health care access. “These numbers are more than bar charts, flow charts, graphs and tables,” Conlu said. “Data holds the power to tell a story. A story is the only way to make the information accessible for the greatest number of people.”

“Hygiene: Enhancing Dignity for Homeless Women:” On any given night, nearly 2,700 individuals experience homelessness in Sacramento County. Beyond the data lie hundreds of women whose basic needs of hygiene go unmet. A team of master’s-degree leadership students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis shine light on the problem through coursework that also changes their perspectives on nursing. “We partnered with Wellspring Women’s Center to identify a need and develop a solution. Guests shared the lack of showers in our area,” said Kerri Maya, a nursing supervisor at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. “Here, the community was our patient,” added Mini George, a nurse at the family birth center at Mercy San Juan Medical Center. The students even shared their research with Sacramento Mayor Daryl Steinberg.

“Utilization of the WHO Asia BMI and the Framingham CVD Risk Algorithm in Assessing Cardiovascular Risks Among Hmong Americans:” A leader in the Hmong community and a Hmong refugee herself, May Ying Ly embarked on a Doctor of Philosophy degree at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis to develop tools to solve health disparities. With her cultural knowledge of the Hmong community, she used her expertise to enhance her research. An aspect of her research relied on a name algorithm developed by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registry to infer Hmong ethnicity from electronic health records. After using the algorithm, Ly refined it to include more Hmong names and delete names that were not Hmong. “There’s so much more I can do. I have had so many opportunities and I want to use those opportunities to help other immigrants and other refugees,” Ly said.

“Effectiveness of Home Blood Pressure Monitoring in Reaching Target Blood Pressures in Patients Diagnosed with Hypertension:” Hypertension is the cause or a contributing factor to the deaths of 1,000 people every day in the U.S. Graduate students teamed together to discover if home monitoring improves outcomes and to learn how other members of the interprofessional care team work toward solutions. Using the PICO model of research—problem, intervention, comparison, outcome to measure—nursing, physician assistant and nurse practitioner students worked together to find a solution. “My hope was that students would acknowledge and support the diverse thoughts and opinions coming from different team members and create a solution to a problem based on the best quality evidence they could find,” said Amy Nichols, assistant clinical professor. “I hope they apply what they learned to real life situations in the future.”

Symposium events run from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the Education Building, located at 4610 X St. in Sacramento. For more in-depth stories and videos of the students and their projects, click here. You can also follow the event happenings via #IAdvanceHealth on Twitter.