Nursing Students Present Research at ISPN Conference

APRIL 26, 2013 - Two senior nursing majors recently presented their research on therapy dogs at the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing annual conference in San Antonio.

Lauren Fedorchak (NHS’13) and Kendra Jones (NHS’13) showcased their research examining the effect of a therapy dog on mood, anxiety, pulse rate, and blood pressure in first-year, first-semester college students.

“We were surrounded by so many big names in psychiatric nursing, and it was kind of a surreal experience to be surrounded by the same people who write the articles I read online,” Fedorchak says.

The Research Process

The two students worked with poster co-authors Joan Burggraf Riley (NHS’76, G’97), MS, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN, assistant professor of human science and nursing, Jane Fall-Dickson, PhD, RN, AOCN, associate professor of nursing and assistant chair for research, and Mihriye Mete, PhD, biostatistics manager in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the MedStar Health Research Institute. Riley served as the students’ research mentor.

Jones notes that the topic was Fedorchak’s original idea and that she learned a great deal about the research process from participating in the project.

“In supporting [Lauren] through all of this, I learned a lot about the research process – how much dedication and devotion it takes to see it through, as well as the detail that goes into making a project come to fruition,” Jones says.

Faculty Mentorship

Both students were excited by the opportunity to present at the national conference.

“This time last year, I never would have imagined we would get the opportunity to present our results at a conference in Texas,” says Fedorchak. “We definitely could not have done it without [professors Riley and Fall-Dickson], who provided us with so much guidance and support. I am so grateful to have such an indispensable research partner, Kendra, whose work ethic and support were inspiring throughout the project.”

The conference ran from April 16-20, 2013, and brought together professionals to discuss issues ranging from mental health advocacy and support groups to mental health issues specific to military personnel.

By Tiffani Haynes