Shepherd University, in partnership with the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, hosted its fourth annual Nursing Research Conference on campus Nov. 1. One hundred and twenty area nurses and Shepherd nursing students attended the conference, which featured evidence-based practice.
"We are encouraging our nursing students to really become more involved and aware of evidence-based practice, so that they can use that throughout their careers to improve the health outcomes of the people we care for," said Dr. Laura Clayton, professor of nursing education at Shepherd, who helped plan the conference through her work on a research council with the VA.
Three students made podium presentations. They were Jennifer Fedele, of Boonsboro, Md., presenting "Pressure Ulcers," Amanda Giuliani, of Harpers Ferry, presenting "Dental Health Care and Pregnancy" and Candice Martin, of Middletown, Md., presenting "Evidence-Based Practice: A Comparison in Home Dialysis Treatment."
Fedele, a nursing major senior, said she liked having people from area hospitals in attendance and felt nervous but empowered presenting to them.
"Being a part of a conference dedicated to showcasing evidence-based practice is exciting," she said. "Nursing students should take the initiative to present information that healthcare professionals can take back to their facilities and utilize. That is how we affect change."
Another 55 students had peer-reviewed poster presentations regarding evidence-based practice. They included use of larval therapy in treating chronic wounds, hypothermia use following cardiac arrest, and adolescent obesity.
In addition, the conference awards scholarships annually. This year's recipients were Amanda Guiliani of Harpers Ferry, Karis Nolen, of Lake George, N.Y. and Rosemary Kidwiler, who is a VA employee and also a clinical nurse educator at Shepherd.
Evidence-based practice is using research, clinical expertise and patient values to provide optimum health care.
Clayton said planning for next year's conference has begun and it is scheduled for Nov. 7, 2013.