The Student Honors Papers collection represents exemplary work in nursing at Illinois Wesleyan University. The Ames Library is proud to archive these and other honors projects in Digital Commons @ IWU, the University's online archive of student, faculty and staff scholarship and creative activity.

A Survey of Foreign-Educated Nurses: Workforce Experience
by Melissa Giegerich

The United States (US) is currently undergoing a nursing shortage. As a result, many health care agencies in the US and around the world are turning to nurses educated in other countries to fill vacant positions. Despite the increased utilization of foreign-educated nurses, there is a lack of understanding of how these nurses transition into the US workforce. This study describes foreign-educated nurses who work in Illinois and the factors that affected their transition into the US professional nursing workforce. By focusing on nurses who were educated abroad and work in Illinois, this study will help Illinois nurses and Illinois nursing employers to better understand the transition process foreign-educated nurses undergo. An original questionnaire, entitled "A Survey of Workforce Experience of Foreign-educated Registered Nurses," was developed based upon a literature review and two related studies. This tool was used to survey 18 foreign-educated nurses working in Illinois in two agencies. Results demonstrated that the demographic and workforce characteristics of the foreign-educated nurses working in Illinois are similar to national foreign-educated nurse data. Most nurses in this study indicated they encountered limited communication problems and were respected.

Nurses' Attitudes, Knowledge, and Use of Nonpharmalogical Pain Management Techniques and Therapies
by Erin Bicek

Each day millions of people suffer from pain whether they are in the hospital, their homes, or assisted living facilities. The experience of pain negatively influences their daily lives. As nurses and physicians interact with patients and families, they assess and treat their pain. Nurses and physicians attitudes and knowledge of pain management can affect their patient's treatment options. Most of the time drugs are prescribed to relieve the pain including narcotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. However, pain is often under-treated and patients continue to suffer from the ill effects of pain and lack of management (Yates et aI., 1998). Nonpharmacological pain management therapies are increasing in popularity; however, medical personnel as well as patient's knowledge of these therapies are not well researched. Physicians and nurses level of knowledge and attitudes of nonpharmacological pain management greatly affects whether a patient is given these options. Nonpharmacological pain therapies and techniques have great potential to relieve someone's pain and can be used with or without pharmacological methods. There are many benefits to using nonpharmacological methods in relieving pain, therefore, the barriers keeping patients, nurses, and physicians from using them need to be explored. Nurses' attitudes and knowledge ofnonpharmacological pain management therapies needs to be assessed, and any deficits identified need to be rectified so patients have access to other options to more effectively manage their pain.

Detecting Suicide Risk in Adolescents and Adults in an Emergency Department: a Pilot Study
by Katie N. Davis

A pilot study was conducted to detect suicide risk in adolescents and adults presenting to an Emergency Department (ED) in the Midwest, as well as to test the reliability and validity of the 4-item Risk of Suicide Questionnaire (RSQ) developed by Horowitz, et al. (2001). Participants consisted of a convenience sample of 104 ED patients ranging in age from 12 to 82 regardless of chief complaint or psychiatric history. The RSQ was verbally administered to 39 adolescents (age 12 to 24) and 65 adults (over 25). Demographic data, chief complaint, and discharge diagnosis were also obtained. Psychometric analysis demonstrated an adequate degree of reliability and criterion related validity. Results support a reduced 2-item form of the RSQ to determine imminent risk of suicide.

On vs. Off: Coronary Bypass Surgery from a Patient's Perspective
by Ann Steele

Throughout the years, technological advances have changed the face of cardiac surgery, but at times, it is a return to a previous technique, which proves beneficial. Prior to the introduction of cardiopulmonary bypass, cardiac surgery was performed on a beating heart, but due to the lack of an appropriate immobilizing device, the surgery was extremely complicated. With the introduction of new stabilization devices, immobilization of the heart has become easier and beating heart surgery has gained popularity once again. Multiple studies have been done which discuss the benefits of off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery (OPCAB), but none of the studies have explored the surgery from a patient's perspective. The patient is medicine's most important ally and as such, it is important that health care providers understand the fears, anxieties, and experiences that their patients undergo. Studies have compared OPCAB with conventional coronary artery bypass (CABG), but the patient's experience has not been explored. The purpose of this study was to determine how people who have had both OPCAB and CABG view the surgical experience, their outcomes, and the fears they had prior to surgery. The sample was comprised of four men living independently in a small midwestern community. The sample was recruited with the help of a local cardiovascular surgeon's office. The participants were interviewed using an interview guide. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. Inductive data analysis was completed using the transcribed interviews as well as field notes from the researcher. From the data, eight categories and five subcategories were formed. The categories included suggestions to other patients, recommendations to healthcare professionals, preoperative preparation, medications, symptoms prior to surgery, trust in doctors, postoperative depression, and comparisons between CABG and OPCAB. The last category was further subdivided into five subcategories, which included general comparison, subjective look of patient, length of stay, recovery period, and intubation experience. The information gleaned from this study is of importance to nurses as well as other healthcare professionals as they work with patients before and after either type of bypass surgery. "It's a lifetime experience," and, therefore, it is important that healthcare professionals are fully prepared to care for and educate patients as their hearts are mended. The findings of this study may help to provide insight and knowledge about the patient's experience as they undergo one of these life-changing surgeries.

The Effects of Personality Characteristics and Stress on Physical Illness
by Carly A. Andersen

Recent research has indicated that personality characteristics and stress may influence the incidence of illness (Dreher, 1995). The majority of studies have examined personality characteristics and stress in acutely and chronically ill populations. However, this phenomenon has not been extensively studied in healthy populations. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among personality characteristics, subjective stress, and physical illness in a sample of undergraduate students. This study tested a moderator model in which personality characteristics interact with stress to influence the incidence of physical illness using hierarchical multiple regression. Study participants included 55 undergraduate students selected from two classes at a small mid-western university. These two classes were chosen to represent the diversity of majors, gender, and academic level at the university. Personality characteristics were assessed with measures of hardiness and assertiveness. A series of four surveys assessing hardiness, assertiveness, subjective stress, and physical illness as well as a demographic sheet were distributed to study participants to be completed during class time. The analyses revealed significant correlations between the personality characteristics, hardiness and assertiveness, and subjective stress. The data did not offer empirical support for the moderator model, thus suggesting that personality characteristics do not interact with subjective stress to influence the incidence of physical illness. However this finding should be considered with caution since the measure used to assess physical illness may have limited sensitivity in this population. Future research is indicated using different measures of physical illness with greater sensitivity in healthy populations.

Living With Unstable Coronary Artery Disease
by Marcie M. Tempel

Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the United States. CAD can be a long term, recurrent health problem placing a heavy burden on the afflicted individual. Although the mean age of individuals experiencing their first clinical sYmptoms of CAD is usually reported to be in the fifth or sixth decade of life, individuals may also experience sYmptoms of disease at an earlier age when actively engaged in career, family, and vigorous leisure activities. There is a sparsity of experiential information and nurses need to be sensitive to the psychosocial impact of this experience on daily living. This study proposes to examine the lived experience of one middle-aged man with unstable CAD using qualitative research methods.

The Scope and Practice of Rural Nurse Practitioners in Central Illinois
by Lisa L. Lovegren

In today's atmosphere of escalating health care costs, limited access to health care, and changes in the health care delivery systems, it is necessary to evaluate the roles and responsibilities of non physician health care providers. The advanced Nurse Practitioner is one such health care professional who currently provides vital services to the public. However, utilization of Nurse Practitioners has been limited within Illinois. The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine current perceived roles of rural Central Illinois Nurse Practitioners, and 2) determine perceived practice-related changes and trends for the future.

Identification of Inner-City, African-American Caregivers' Informational Needs in Providing Care for Their Children
by Stacie De Lair

The purpose of this study was to identify the information inner-city, African-American caregivers wanted in order to provide better care for their children. Thirty-five African-American caregivers of children, aged three to seven years, were interviewed. The gender, relationship to child, number of children cared for regularly, and the desired informational needs were identified. Frequencies and descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Results showed that parenting-discipline and safety were each identified by approximately 25% of the respondents as desired informational needs. Almost 20% of the responses indicated no need for information. Other categories where a need for information was identified were nutrition (10.1 %), other topics (8.5%), health state (6.7%), and parenting-education (5%). Future educational programming is recommended regarding identified informational needs. Further research needs to be done in a variety of settings to determine more about areas of informational need.

Factors Affecting Communication Between Emergency Department Nurses
by Malynnda Wright

Communication of essential patient data is vital to provide effective immediate intervention in an emergency department or trauma center. The information must be complete and conveyed in a clear concise manner as quickly as possible. Without effective communication, valuable time can be wasted performing repetitious assessments, instead of conducting procedures that can save lives and reduce the length of the patient's stay.

Feelings and Concerns of New Fathers When Their Spouses Have Epidural Anesthesia During Childbirth
by Susan M. Monger

Over the past years, the use of epidural anesthesia as an intervention for pain relief has increased in the labor and delivery setting. Exploration of the literature has not identified what effects the addition of this technology has had on the normal childbirth process and those participating in childbirth, specifically the new father. The purpose of this study was to explore first-time fathers' perceptions of their feelings and concerns during the various phases of the labor and delivery experience in which epidural anesthesia is used. The study addresses the following research questions: (a) What are the perceptions of first-time fathers regarding their feelings and concerns at each of the following three stages in the labor and delivery experience: pre-epidural, post-epidural, and at time of delivery of their newborn?; and b) Do the levels of concerns and feelings differ during the various stages identified previously? The convenience sample consisted of first-time fathers whose newborns were delivered in a small Midwest, community hospital. Subjects met the following criteria: a) married at least one year; (b) first baby for both father and mother; (c) attendance at childbirth education classes; and (d) use of epidural anesthesia on spouse during childbirth. Fathers were surveyed through a self-administered questionnaire which was partly derived from The Berry Expectant Fathers Stress Index (BEFSI). Prior to administration, the questionnaire was reviewed by a panel of expert nurses for content and readability. The data from the questionnaires regarding perception and relevant demographic data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS/PC+). The results of the study found that fathers had five feelings and four concerns during childbirth. Feelings included: anxiousness, fear, happiness, confidence and closeness. Concerns included: concern for spouse, concern for baby, concern for self, and concern for the progress of labor. These feelings and concerns were reported at different levels during childbirth.