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KU School of Nursing hosts 2019 Midwest Nursing Research Society conference

April 09, 2019

By Kristi Birch

Nurse researchers Hannah Cunningham and Heather Nelson-Brantley. Photo: Shawn Lee Photography
Nurse-scientists Hannah Cunningham and Heather Nelson-Brantley. Photo: Shawn Lee Photography

The University of Kansas School of Nursing hosted the 43th annual Midwest Nursing Research Society conference, which was held March 27-30, 2019, at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Kansas City. Nearly 900 nursing scholars and students attended from 36 states and five countries. See list of co-hosting schools

The Midwest Nursing Research Society is a 13-state regional organization that promotes nursing science and helps foster the next generation of nurse researchers. "MNRS is the largest organization of nurse scientists and nurse scholars in the country. Every year, hundreds of nurse scientists and students — at all levels — meet to share their research and to move nursing science forward," said Barbara Polivka, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate dean of research at the KU School of Nursing. "We were lucky to have this exciting annual conference in Kansas City this year."

Consistent with the theme of this year's conference, "Nursing Research at the Forefront of Healthcare Crises," the event was bookended by keynote addresses about the nation's opioid crisis. Peggy Compton, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, the van Amerigen Endowed Chair of the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, presented nursing-centered research about addiction, pain and the opioid misuse epidemic. Melanie Simpson, Ph.D., RN-BC, OCN, CHPN, CPE, pain management team coordinator at The University of Kansas Health System, closed the conference with a lecture about the need to address the competing healthcare crises of chronic pain and opioid misuse simultaneously, in a patient-centered way that both maximizes benefit and minimizes risk.

Throughout the conference, nurse scientists presented their research at poster presentations and speaker sessions. The projects ranged from bench science to public health and health promotion, to nursing education. "We've had great sessions at the conference, and the work these nurses, including the students, are doing is just phenomenal," said Sally Maliski, Ph.D, RN, FAAN, dean of the KU School of Nursing.

Janet Pierce, Ph.D., APRN, CCRN, FAAN, the Christine A. Hartley Endowed Professor of Nursing at the KU School of Nursing, presented her work developing a method to measure a chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in patients with a type of heart failure that occurs when the heart muscle becomes stiff and cannot pump sufficiently. Decreased levels of ATP are associated with this type of heart failure, but there is no direct method to easily measure ATP concentrations in these patients. In the method Pierce and her collaborators developed, blood is drawn from patients and a luminometer measures the ATP in 15 seconds, at the bedside.

Regina Conway-Phillips, Ph.D., RN, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago's Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, presented her research into the experiences and decision-making processes of African American women who have never or rarely been screened for breast cancer. Molly Hall, a fourth-year nursing student at KU, did a poster session on her work looking at how a caregiver's use of "partner attention statements" — simple things such as saying the word "you" and asking a person questions — affected their communication with people with dementia.

"Nursing research is really maturing and building solid science, and about such important topics, such as opioid use, which is a critical issue," said Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, who attends the conference every year. "It's very sophisticated research, and it's impactful because the whole point of nursing research is ultimately to improve clinical care."

In addition to KU School of Nursing, nine schools from Kansas and Missouri co-hosted the conference including schools of nursing at Baker University, Fort Hays State University; Pittsburg State University, University of St. Mary; Washburn University, University of Missouri, Kansas City; and University of Missouri, Saint Louis; and the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. 

Last modified: Apr 11, 2019