Four senior nursing students have been selected to present their research, “Attitudes and Perceptions of Hospital Policies and Appropriateness of Scope of Practice for Pregnant Nurses in the Rural In-Patient Hospital Setting” at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this March. The NCUR is one of the national leading undergraduate conferences in the U.S. where student researchers across the nation present their work to peers, faculty and staff.
Katie Furr, Cailey Dupree, Eliana Difuntorum and Samuel Lawrence were chosen from over 4,000 submissions. “The selection of these students’ abstracts demonstrates a unique contribution to their field of study and will provide them with the opportunity to not only present their work, but to also network and connect with prominent leaders in the field,” stated Marian Tabi, Ph.D., MPH, RN, professor and director of program outcomes in the School of Nursing.
Under the direction of Tabi, their research focused on gaining insight into the perception of nursing on the occupational hazards of pregnant nurses in the clinical setting. The question guiding their research was whether there are policies and procedures in place specific to pregnant nurses in the workplace.
“We found that occupational hazards for pregnant nurses included negative attitudes from coworkers, physical abuse from patients, increased stress and physical demands, and an unclear understanding of their facilities’ policies and procedures for pregnant nurses,” stated Furr. “Furthermore, implications of the findings suggest there is a need for hospitals and clinical facilities to create policies and guidelines that reduce occupational hazards to pregnant nurses and their unborn infants.” Furr explained their research showed a need for hospitals to have policies and procedures on safe handling of teratogenic medications, accommodating shift work hours specifically during the third trimester, maximum allowed for heavy lifting, adequate staffing that allows for break periods including lunch, bathroom and pumping.
“We had no idea that we would become so passionate about our research, but it is so rewarding to be able to gain insight on a topic that is seldom talked about. We are also so grateful for the facilities that allowed us to conduct our research through their employees and for the wonderful opportunity for us to share our knowledge on this topic,” stated Furr.
“There is an enormous amount of evidence that clearly indicates that engaging undergraduate students in research results in transformational experiences,” stated Tabi. “Therefore the benefits for undergraduate students conducting and presenting their research work are numerous. Such engagement can yield an array of greater educational outcomes including cognitive and intellectual growth, professional, and personal growth. In addition, engaging students in undergraduate research highlights the value that such endeavors bring to faculty mentors and the institution.”
Students are receiving funding from the Georgia Southern University Undergraduate Research office and the Student Government Association to help offset some of the costs to attend the conference.