Student Academic Conference 2013

Student Academic Conference 2013

This year we had an amazing group of students represent the School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership in the 2013 Student Academic Conference. While the subjects of their research varied greatly, each project had one thing in common: they aimed to expand the viewer’s knowledge of healthcare around the world. Below are the 2013 research projects.

Amie Bartlett & Jennifer Rekstad:

Cultural Competency Increases the Effectiveness of Health Education in Guatemala, Particularly When Addressing Malnutrition

Helps International, a non-profit organization, is helping alleviate poverty in Latin America. Through Helps International medical trips, volunteers are providing culturally congruent health education, specifically about nutrition, to the people of Guatemala. Such health education is desperately needed in Guatemala, which has one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. It is estimated that in some rural villages, up to 80 percent of people suffer from chronic malnutrition. Malnutrition in Guatemala is not always due to lack of food, but rather lack of food rich in vitamins and nutrients. Diets in rural Guatemala consist mainly of rice and beans, which do not contain all the vitamins and nutrients necessary to grow and thrive. Malnutrition in babies and young children causes stunting of growth. Early stunting of growth is linked to lower IQ and decreased earning potential. As a result, the poverty cycle in Guatemala perpetuates the problem of malnutrition. Understanding cultural aspects of the malnutrition problems in Guatemala increases the volunteers’ ability to communicate health education to Guatemalans effectively. Once the cultural barrier is broken, the Guatemalan patients are more likely to understand and appreciate the importance of incorporating balanced nutrition into their diets.


Jennie Stauffer:

Hospice: Myths and Truths


Death cannot be avoided. It is part of the cycle of life. There are many myths surrounding Hospice–what it is and what it offers. Hospice focuses on providing ‘care’ for patients, rather than seeking a ‘cure’ at a time that ‘cure’ is not possible. Hospice offers individualized services for a person’s last months or days to make them as rich as possible. Education for patients, families, and Hospice staff is vital to assure quality care which is within the scope of practice of the Baccalaureate nurse. This poster will describe Hospice, the care provided and the role of the nurse in supporting individuals and their families during their final journey in life.



Karen Harris:

Indian Health Services


Indian Health Services is responsible for providing comprehensive health care to over 566 federally recognized tribes as well as Alaskan Natives. Through a special government-to-government relationship established in 1787 and upheld in our Constitution, Indian Health Services advocates for optimal health in Native people. Native Americans experience some of the worst health conditions in the Unites States. An interactive clinical nursing experience was completed on Leech Lake Reservation, in Cass Lake Minnesota with the Chippewa Nation. Nursing care was provided to multiple band members in the areas of Urgent Care and Emergency Services. Like most other health care facilities facing budget cuts and staffing shortages, Indian Health Services in Cass Lake is able to perform at an optimal level providing physical, mental, social and spiritual health. Holistic nursing is at the center of every nursing interaction in order to promote culturally appropriate care. It is imperative as our Federal Government continues to cut health care costs, that Indian Health Services receives appropriate funding to continue its mission.

“I was honored to present at the Academic Conference at MSUM about Indian Health Services (IHS).  The subject was tied to my clinical experience at Leach Lake Reservation in Cass Lake, MN.  The conference provided me with an opportunity to educate people about IHS as well as provide more tools for nurses in achieving maximum health outcomes in Native people” – Karen Harris


Jill David & Jennifer Kastl:

Medical Mission Work in Nicaragua


BACKGROUND: In February, 2013, six MSUM RN to BSN students traveled to Nicaragua as part of a MEDICO medical mission trip. Over seven days, the team saw over 600 patients, including medical and dental patients. ASSESSMENT: Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Lack of public health services put the population at risk for preventable diseases. The RN to BSN students will present the details of preparing for the trip, the work they did there, what the students saw and what they learned. The nurses grew in their medical knowledge as well as their cultural knowledge. They will reflect on their experiences as care providers, how their nursing practice has been changed by this experience as well as the profound personal effects of participating in a medical mission trip.


Kristi Baukol:

Nitrous Oxide: A Laughing Gas!

Nitrous oxide (N2O), an odorless gas, has been used for decades by dentists to alleviate pain and anxiety. Children often undergo painful procedures in hospitals and clinics similar to those done in dentistry but N2O is not routinely used by nurses or physicians. The current standard practice of restraint causes children pain and anxiety. N2O has been proven safe with minimal side effects and it is easily administered. A CINAHL search was completed using the key words nitrous oxide, pediatrics, anesthesiology, minor pediatric procedures, and pain control in children. The research was completed to learn more about nitrous oxide administration to develop a protocol using evidence based practice. The nurse administered nitrous oxide program in the clinic will reduce pain and anxiety in children under the age of 18 undergoing minor procedures. With the implementation of this protocol, N2O can safely be administered in the clinic setting by trained registered nurses.

The Student Academic Conference was a great way to showcase all of the hard work done during the semester. It was also great to meet classmates and see all of the hard work they did throughout the semester!” – Kristi Baukol


Christine VanAlstyne:

Volunteering for a Medical Mission Trip

The World Health Organization believes quality medical care to be a human right (Miller et al., 2008). Yet, “Poverty is stifling human dignity, hunger is weakening physical potential, and violence is destroying life” for billions left underserved (Miller et al., 2008, p. 5). For many this is a call to action. Balancing local values with western medicine on this student’s trip to Guatemala incorporated Leininger’s theory of “Transcultural Care” and a review of local customs (Transcultural Nursing, 2012). Providing medical services is more complicated than a simple lack of resources. Lack of equipment, language barriers, and “local standards of modesty can preclude a good physical examination” (Chickering, 2006, p. 190). It is also important to consider the strain on volunteers experiencing the “extreme stress, casualties, poverty, illnesses, and traumatic injuries” (Ullah, 2010, p. 22). Volunteers must be prepared to care for themselves, each other, and indigenous peoples. Volunteers find that knowledge, respect and an open minded approach to local customs, treatments and beliefs improve diagnosis and treatment. With a balanced approach to self-care and caring for others, volunteering has unparalleled rewards. By continued engagement and recruitment the illusory vision of providing quality medical care to all people becomes increasingly tangible.

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