In a dynamic field like nursing, research and teaching go hand-in-hand. Investigators in AU’s Faculty of Health Disciplines are making important contributions to advancing knowledge, and are sharing what they learn with students so it can be translated into enhanced patient care. During National Nursing Week in Canada, May 7–13, 2018, we’re proud to cast the spotlight on just three of our nursing faculty who are leading research projects that will improve lives.
CIHR grant supports project to help ease pain of people living with dementia
Dementia research — and specifically research into how nursing home residents with dementia communicate pain — received a boost in January 2018 when a project led by Dr. Jennifer Knopp-Sihota, Associate Professor, received a grant from Canada’s high-profile Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Knopp-Sihota is the primary investigator on the collaborative “Improving Pain Assessment in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia” project, which is working towards developing a new tool to assess pain severity — and, ultimately less suffering through better pain management. The project was one of only eight projects (of 58 submissions) from across Canada to be funded.
Saving the lives of babies who suffer hypoxia
Dr. Bill Diehl-Jones, Associate Professor, and colleagues at the University of Manitoba recently received a grant to advance their work investigating the potential of a drug showing great promise to save the lives of babies with hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). The project, “Effects of PGE2 Agonists on Neonatal Hypoxia,” looks into Misoprostol or Cytotec, a drug approved by Health Canada and currently used to treat ulcers. The group has shown that Misoprostol causes alternate splicing of a cell death gene — creating a new gene that “switches” its protein into one that is pro-survival. A paper submitted to a Tier 1 journal, Cell Death and Disease, shows the precise molecular pathways by which this happens. Most excitingly, in both cell-based and preliminary animal-based experiments, Misoprostol rescues gut, intestine, and brain cells after hypoxia. The group’s investigations could lead to human trials in coming years, and it is hoped this could then lead to better treatments for pre-term infants at risk of hypoxic brain and heart injury.
Recognizing violence is the first step toward stopping it
For the better part of 20 years Dr. Lynn Corcoran, Program Director, Bachelor of Nursing Curriculum & Regulatory Affairs, and Assistant Professor, has worked with nurses to enable them to better identify and respond to the signs of partner abuse. Her PhD research involving 18-to-29-year-olds focused on discovering insights that can help young people recognize the warning signs of potential partner violence, and give them tools to help them avoid danger. “When you’re in a relationship, you can’t always see what’s happening,” she says. “But the people around you can — in person and, today, electronically. So young people need to be able to recognize violence for what it is, realize what is happening, and say or do something, for themselves and for their friends. They need to know what it is so they can stop it.”
You can find out more about faculty academic and research interests on the Faculty of Health Disciplines website faculty and staff page.
Learn more about AU’s baccalaureate, master’s, and certificate nursing programs, and professional development opportunities for nurses on the Faculty of Health Disciplines website.