Shepherd University, in partnership with the Martinsburg VA Medical Center (MVMC), hosted its fifth annual Nursing Research Conference Nov. 7 in Erma Ora Byrd Hall.
Nearly 150 nurses from regional hospitals and health care agencies including the Washington, D.C. area and Shepherd nursing students attended the conference, which focused on the use of nursing research and evidence-based practice by nurses.
"Evidence-based practice requires professional nurses to rely on scientific research and evidence, patient values, and clinical expertise to deliver quality patient care," said Dr. Laura Clayton, professor of nursing education at Shepherd and member of the MVMC's Research Council. "The research conference provides an opportunity for regional nurses and nursing students to enhance their use of evidence-based practice through collaboration and learning from one another."
Lindsey Funkhouser, a senior nursing major from Harpers Ferry, took first place in poster presentations with "Pet Therapy and Autistic Children." She said at the conference she learned a lot from reading the posters and listening to the guest speaker presentations.
"The required research class that Shepherd University offers gave me the ability to follow the studies of other professionals," she said.
Tiffany Sommer, a senior nursing major from Martinsburg, placed second with "Benefits of Bedside Shift Reporting," and in third was Jenna Lewin, a senior nursing major from Winchester, Virginia, with "Reiki Therapy in Arthritis Patients." Forty-four Shepherd students in all participated in the poster competition.
Other poster presentation topics included patient rounds at hospitals to prevent falls, use of telehealth, music therapy in the care of patients with dementia or post-operative pain, diabetic education, cyberbullying in schools, depression in high schools students and needs of migrant and seasonal farm workers.
In addition, the conference awarded two scholarships whose recipients were selected because of their academic performance, leadership ability, and use of evidence-based practice. They are senior nursing majors Christopher Richards from Martinsburg and Patricia Claude from Harpers Ferry.
"For nurses, the product we are developing is health, and the process we follow is not only the nursing process, but also the research, development, and evaluation of nursing intervention in the care we provide," Richards said. "For nurses to be viewed as professionals, we must show that the interventions we provide are based in scientific research."
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. 6, 2014.