Social networking is an online mode of communication transforming how we market in this era, and for Jesse Francomano, a senior in the BS program, it is also a poster topic he presented at the prestigious Western Institute of Nursing (WIN) conference held in Portland in April 2012. In fact, he was the only undergraduate from the CU College of Nursing, and one of only a handful of undergrads at the WIN Conference who presented posters. After completing an extensive literature review Francomano found researchers can use social networking sites to disseminate adolescent healthcare information.
“I’m surrounded with all of these people with their PhDs,” says Francomano. ”They were all very friendly, engaging and asked a lot of good questions. I learned about the research process, and I confirmed that I want to pursue nursing research.”
Yuki Asakura, a PhD student who is working on her dissertation, has been to WIN before and also uses the conference as a testing ground for her research. This year she presented a poster on advance care planning. According to Asakura, high technologies are available in healthcare but when and how those technologies should be utilized is dependent upon the patient’s wishes. Current practice shows that healthcare providers fail to support patients’ decision making until death is imminent. Asakura conducted concept analysis on advanced care planning and presented her results during the conference.
“This year, 16 College of Nursing students gave 17 podium or poster presentations at the WIN conference, which is a record since I became CNR Director in 2005,” says Paul Cook, PhD, licensed psychologist. “We’re pleased that many of our doctoral and master’s students took this opportunity to share their research ideas. Participating in WIN is a great opportunity for students to learn the research process. Nursing researchers often share their preliminary data at this conference, which gives students insight into the process of research as well as its results. Presenting a poster is also an invaluable experience for students because it allows them to get comfortable talking about their own study ideas, test them based on an audience’s feedback and start to develop a reputation for a particular area of research..
“This is an academic conference for any nursing topic,” says Asakura. “WIN has been beneficial for me because it allows me to see current trends in nursing. And because it is not limited to my specialty, I can learn new concepts, hear about the latest research and note new methods that possibly might apply to future oncology nursing research. There were opportunities for the audience to ask questions, and these questions broadened my thoughts. As this is also part of my dissertation, it helped me learn how to present clearly to an audience. ”Next year, Asakura plans on presenting her complete dissertation at WIN.
“There were great presentations and key note speeches. It was a great opportunity to see the nursing research community in action,” says Nicole Carlson, CNM, and a second-year PhD student. Carlson presented a poster on developing a theoretical model for research on the labor management of obese, nulliparous women.
For Jane Braaten, another PhD student, presenting a poster at WIN increased her confidence in her research. “The audience response was great and very complimentary. It gave me confidence in my subject,” says Braaten. Looking at cognitive work analysis as a method for patient safety research, Braaten also used the WIN conference as a sounding board for her dissertation research.
“It’s very exciting to know that somebody from some other place in the western part of the country thinks your research is important and your approach is novel and they’re interested in the results. It’s invigorating and very exciting,” says Professor Roxie Foster, PhD, RN, FAAN.
Attending the conference also provides students with an opportunity to network and socialize outside of the classroom. From lodging with peers to lunching with classmates at some of the casual restaurants in Portland to having dinner with professors, the students’ experience at WIN was memorable, both inside and outside of the conference.
“One night the PhD students joined faculty members for dinner at an Italian restaurant near the convention center,” Carlson says. “It was wonderful to hear stories of people’s lives, and to discuss current events. The evening was very comfortable and it provided a chance for student and faculty members to form closer ties.”
“A research conference is unique in that you are tapping absolute state of the art. This is stuff that will not be published for a year or so,” says Foster. “It hasn’t even hit the press yet so you come away from a conference like that with a sense of the frontier of science.”