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Penn Nursing > Science in Action
Science in Action: Archive
HIV/AIDS
Posted February 2011

Dr. Jemmott: "Change Behavior, Save Lives"

    Combining Nursing Care with Nursing Science to Change Behaviors and Save Lives   Developed by Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, RN, FAAN, one of the nation’s foremost researchers in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention, “Sister-to-Sister” is a one-on-one behavioral intervention for sexually active African American women 18 to 45 years old who have male partners and attend a women’s health clinic to screen for STDs. At 20-minutes, it is the briefest effective intervention in the world. The program stems from Dr. Jemmott’s NINR-funded randomized control trial to identify an effective, culturally-appropriate HIV/STD risk-reduction intervention. In a study of 564 African American women recruited from an urban women’s health clinic and assigned various inte...
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Study Results
Posted February 2011

Nurses Dissatisfied with Health Benefits

Nurses’ Widespread Job Dissatisfaction, Burnout, and Frustration with Health Benefits Signal Problems for Patient Care Job dissatisfaction among nurses contributes to costly labor disputes, turnover, and risk to patients. Examining survey data from 95,499 nurses, Penn faculty Drs. Matthew McHugh, Ann Kutney-Lee, Jeannie P. Cimiotti, Douglas M. Sloane, and Linda H. Aiken found much higher job dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses who were directly caring for patients in hospitals and nursing homes than among nurses working in other jobs or settings, such as the pharmaceutical industry. Strikingly, nurses are particularly dissatisfied with their health benefits, which highlights the need for a benefits review to make nurses’ benefits more...

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Christopher Coleman, Associate Professor, Penn Nursing
HIV/AIDS
Posted June 2011

Using Buses to Promote HIV-Testing

PHILADELPHIA – A University of Pennsylvania study will determine if public transit can convey more than people going from point A to point B. Video displays on public buses in Los Angeles will be used to help determine the efficacy of an innovative soap opera-like video program designed to increase HIV testing among low-income African Americans 14 to 24 years of age. The program -- “Reality Check” -- will be shown on video monitors on public buses over a 27-week time-frame. Each episode of “Reality Check” explores relationships and decision-making among a group of young African Americans. The episodes carry an underlying message to get tested for HIV. Each three-minute episode of the show will display for one week on buses on a Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. B...
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Diane L. Spatz
Pediatrics
Posted June 2011

Call to Breastfeeding Action

The lack of breastfeeding in the United States is a public health crisis, according to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin. The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the professional organizations to recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. In some parts of the world, breastfeeding infants can make the difference between life and death. In the United States, only 13.6 percent of infants receive exclusive human milk for the crucial first six months. In 2010, with the release of the Surgeon General’s Call to Breastfeeding Action, the U.S. government of...

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Therese Richmond, PhD, FAAN, CRNP
Mental Health
Posted July 2011

A War Inside: Saving Veterans from Suicide

An estimated 18 American military veterans take their own lives every day -- thousands each year -- and those numbers are steadily increasing.  Even after weathering the stresses of military life and the terrors of combat, these soldiers find themselves overwhelmed by the transition back into civilian life.  Many have already survived one suicide attempt, but never received the extra help and support they needed, with tragic results. A team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and colleagues discovered that veterans who have attempted suicide not only have an elevated risk of further suicide attempts, but face mortality risks from all causes at a rate three times greater than the general population. Their research was recently published in Biomed Central Public H...
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HIV/AIDS
Posted July 2011

Ensuring HIV Patients with Mental Illness Get the Care They Need

In a four-year study, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that assigning adults with serious mental illness who are HIV positive to the care of advanced practice nurses (APRN) to help navigate the health care system and maintain adherence to drug regimens reduced depression and improved their overall physical health, indicating that healthcare policy should be revamped to provide this support.  “Implementation of community-based nurse management using APRNs for complex patient populations may improve long-term outcomes and reduce the high costs of care. This study suggests that APRN care management should be a central component of the redesign of health care delivery to this vulnerable population,” said Penn Nursing professor Nancy Hanrahan, PhD, RN, the lead autho...

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Barbara Riegel, Penn Nursing
Cardiac Health
Posted July 2011

Heart Failure: Taking Care of Yourself Really Works

Healthcare providers have been dispensing advice to heart failure patients about diet and exercise and for the first time researchers have found that it really works. While self-care is believed to improve heart failure outcomes, a highlight of the recent American Heart Association scientific statement on promoting heart failure self-care was the need to establish the mechanisms by which self-care may influence neurohormonal, inflammatory, and hemodynamic function. Christopher S. Lee, PhD, RN of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing led a team of researchers who examined the biological mechanisms by which self-care influences heart failure outcomes. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first clinical investigation of the rel...
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Matt McHugh, Assistant Professor, Penn Nursing
Staffing Levels
Posted July 2011

California Nurse Staffing

In a comprehensive analysis comparing nurse staffing in California hospitals to similar hospitals in the U.S. over nearly a decade, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found that controversial legislation setting nurse-to-patient ratios added more registered nurses to the hospital staffing mix, not fewer as feared. California was the first state to pass legislation setting staffing levels. However, mindful of the ongoing nurse shortage California legislators determined that hospitals could employ licensed practical nurses (LPN) as well as registered nurses (RN) to meet the requirements of the law. Nevertheless, "California's state–mandated nurse staffing ratios have been shown to be successful in terms of increasing registered nurse staffing. From a policy perspective, this should be useful information to the st...

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Therese Richmond, Penn Nursing
Mental Health
Posted July 2011

Short Survey Helps Predict Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A simple eight-question survey administered soon after injury can help predict which of the 30 million Americans seeking hospital treatment for injuries each year may develop depression or post-traumatic stress, report Therese S. Richmond, PhD, CRNP, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and her colleagues in “General Hospital Psychiatry”. “Depression and PTSD exert a significant, independent, and persistent effect on general health, work status, somatic symptoms, adjustment to illness, and function after injury,” the authors wrote, also emphasizing that even minor injuries can lead to traumatic stress responses. The findings allow healthcare prov...
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Alison Buttenheim, Penn Nursing
Pediatrics
Posted July 2011

Childhood Vaccination Q & A

Vaccinated Children vs. Unvaccinated Children: What Are the Risks?  A Q&A with Dr. Alison Buttenheim of Penn Nursing Penn Nursing Assistant Professor Alison M. Buttenheim, PhD, MBA, is a public health researcher and social demographer who studies parent behavior and child health. Q: What are vaccine refusal and delay? A: Some parents decide not to have their children receive one or more of the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Other parents choose to delay one or more vacci...

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Sex Education
Posted September 2011

Protecting Adolescent Girls from Unwanted Unprotected Sex

Partner abuse leads to HIV infection, and black women are most at risk. A new study at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has found that 46 percent of African-American adolescent girls report that their partner did not use a condom the last time they had sex -- often because of partner abuse. The girls described physical and sexual abuse and threats as preventing them from having their partner use condoms. The relationship between HIV and partner abuse is significant: In the U.S., at least 12 percent of HIV infections among women are a result of partner abuse. Getting out of an abusive relationship should be considered an HIV prevention strategy, according to Anne M. Teitelman, assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, who published the study i...
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Jianghong Liu
Pediatrics
Posted September 2011

Means to Prevent Violence May Start In Utero

It’s hard to think of a baby being violent or destructive, but the seeds of violence may be planted before a child is born, according to research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Attention to health factors as early as the prenatal stage could prevent violence in later life, reports Penn Nursing Assistant Professor Jianghong Liu, PhD, RN, in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. Recent research demonstrates a biological basis of crime, says Dr. Liu. “‘Biological’ does not mean only genetic factors,” she explains, “but also health factors, such as nutritional deficiency and lead exposure, which influence biological processes.” Dr. Liu’s study emphasizes the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal periods, which are critical times for both a child’s neu...

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Tanya Kral
Pediatrics
Posted September 2011

Calling All Parents: Eat Your Rutabagas!

If parents load their own plates with leafy greens, juicy fruits, and colorful veggies, their children just may do the same, reports nutrition scientist Tanja V.E. Kral, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. “Parents serve as important role models for their children when it comes to healthy eating,” says Dr. Kral. “Watching a parent eat initially disliked or novel foods, such as vegetables, can enhance a child’s preference for those foods.” Besides modeling healthy eating behaviors, parents also decide what foods to make available to their children in the home. Making vegetables easily accessible can provide children with opportunities to try new foods and to repeatedly taste them, an important factor in adding healthful new foods to children’s diets, explains Dr. Kral,...
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Pain Management
Posted September 2011

Expert Nursing Panel: Making Pain Control Safer

Efforts to effectively control pain in hospitalized patients with opioid (narcotic) analgesics can lead to unintentional sedation and respiratory depression, which are serious adverse events affecting the quality of recovery for patients. These unintended consequences may be avoided with individualized patient care plans, safe administration of these drugs, and appropriate monitoring practices, report Penn Nursing pain expert Rosemary C. Polomano, PhD, RN, and her colleagues on a panel appointed by the American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN). Opioid analgesics, the standard of care for managing pain in hospitalized patients, are increasingly successful in reducing pain. At the same time, the common and effective practice of using combinations of multiple analgesics that...

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Autism Spectrum Disorders
Posted October 2011

Low Birthweight Infants Five Times More Likely to Have Autism

Autism researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing have found a link between low birthweight and children diagnosed with autism, reporting premature infants are five times more likely to have autism than children born at normal weight. The children, some born as small as about a pound, were followed for 21 years making this study, published in the prestigious journal Pediatrics, one of the most remarkable of its kind. The infants were born between September 1984 through July 1987 in Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties in New Jersey at birthweights from 500 to 2000 grams or a maximum of about 4.4 pounds. “As survival of the smallest and most immature babies improves, impaired survivors represent an increasing public health challenge...
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Awards
Posted October 2011

Studying the Relationship Between Where People Live and Good Health

Matthew D. McHugh, PhD, CRNP, MPH, JD, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study the relationships among where people live, where they receive hospital care, and the outcomes of that care. Dr. McHugh is one of just 12 nurse educators from around the country to receive the three-year $350,000 Nurse Faculty Scholar award this year. It is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing. “The RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar program will provide a great opportunity for me to grow as a nurse scientist and become a leading nursing outcomes and policy researcher,” Dr. McHug...

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Pediatrics
Posted November 2011

Dancing to Prevent Diabetes

With more than 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, Terri Lipman, PhD, CRNP, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, encourages kids to ward off the disease with “Dance for Health.” In this unique upbeat program, Penn Nursing partners with Philadelphia’s Sayre High School and the Bernett Johnson Sayre Health Center to assess and improve physical activity among school-age children, with the goal of lowering the risk for obesity, a key factor in Type 2 diabetes. Busting hip-hop moves across a wooden gym floor, the Sayre High School dance team led children thr...
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Gerontology
Posted October 2011

Elderly Long Term Care Residents Suffer Cognitively During Disasters

​In a summer with unprecedented weather events, from tornados, floods, fires and hurricanes, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing found that physiological changes associated with aging and the presence of chronic illness make older adults more susceptible to illness or injury, even death, during a disaster. Investigators followed 17 long-term care residents, with a mean age of 86, who were evacuated for five days due to a severe summer storm and were relocated to different facilities with different care providers and physical surroundings. The displaced participants experienced delirium, cognitive changes, hospitalizations, and death, according to research published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing. “Older adults often have visual and heari...

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Mental Health
Posted October 2011

Losing Your Home Can Make You Sick

​If losing your house isn’t bad enough, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that homeowners in default or foreclosure exhibited poorer mental health and more physical symptoms than renters, homeowners with moderate housing strain, and homeowners with no housing strain. To make matters worse, those in financial straits might not have access to healthcare professionals, which may further impede their ability to change their circumstances. “Distressed homeowners whose health is impaired may face particular challenges as they attempt to improve their financial situations,” wrote senior author and Nursing professor Terri Lipman, PhD, RN, and colleagues in the influential journal Nursing Outlook this month. “Medical care and appropriate counseling ...
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Staffing Levels
Posted December 2011

To Keep Nurses, Improve Their Work Environments

Nurses working in hospitals around the world are reporting they are burned out and dissatisfied with their jobs, reported researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research in a study of 100,000 nurses in nine countries.   Between 20 to 60 percent of nurses reported symptoms of burnout according to the study, published in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care, which collected data from nurses in more than 1,400 hospitals to determine the effect of hospital work environments on hospital outcomes. ...

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