Worcester State University

 

Nursing Abstracts


CARDBOARD VILLAGE: A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIVED EXPERIENCE OF HOMELESSNESS

Maryellen Brisbois, M.S.

In September 2008, on the lawn of the Worcester State College Student Center, senior nursing students and faculty raised awareness of the plight of the homeless population in the community by creating a “cardboard village” that allowed them to spend the night out of doors. As part of the project, students raised money and collected canned goods and coats that were distributed to local homeless shelters and food banks. The estimated homeless population in Worcester is 2,000 (Homeless Outreach and Advocacy Program).

 

IMPLEMENTATION OF PERSONAL DIGITAL ASSISTANTS IN THE CLINICAL SETTING: A MINIGRANT STUDY

Maryellen Brisbois, M.S.

The goal of this minigrant was to develop a pilot study to implement the use of PDAs in the Worcester State College nursing program. The purpose of this study is to describe confidence levels of students in their clinical and medication administration skills at point-of-care service, which refers to providing patient care wherever the patient might be located, i.e. home, in the office or at the bedside. The confidence level of nursing students’ clinical skills with PDA use, their medication administration skill with PDA use, and their comfort level with use of this technology were assessed. Participants of the study were junior and senior nursing majors in the community, pediatric, and medical/surgical rotations.

 

ACUTE OCCUPATIONAL EXPOSURE TO HYDROGEN SULFIDE

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable, explosive, irritant gas that acts as a systemic asphyxiant. Occupational exposures occur in a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture, human sewage treatment, fossil fuel extraction and processing, hot-asphalt paving, commercial fishing, and heavy water synthesis. The article provides the occupational health nurse with guidance on the potential for irreversible and nearly immediate lethal outcomes of hydrogen sulfide exposure; the need for rigorous air monitoring, gas-sensing alarms, and control technology; and the importance of worker education regarding potential risk, evacuation procedures, and clean-air-supplying respiratory protective equipment to be used as escape equipment during gas leaks and for worker rescue.

 

HERPES ZOSTER IN THE WORKPLACE

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that one-third of Americans will develop varicella zoster virus (VZV) in their lifetime, with approximately one million new cases annually. Although deaths attributable to VZV are rare, except among immunocompromised populations, VZV can have important implications in the workplace. Employees infected with VZV, including those with postherpetic neuralgia, lose an average of 129 hours of work per episode. This article provides the occupational health nurse with recommendations on the management of VZV in the workplace and use of the live-attenuated vaccine for the prevention of VZV and its sequelae.

 

METAL FUME FEVER

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

Metal fume fever (MFF) is a benign, self-limited syndrome resulting from deposition of fine metal particulates in the alveoli. Primarily associated with the inhalation of zinc oxide fumes produced when zinc-coated (galvanized) steel or zinc-containing alloys are heated to high temperatures, MFF is an occupational hazard for those employed in a wide range of metal-working occupations. This article provides occupational health nurses with an overview of the diagnosis of MFF, details on clinical management, and guidance on state-of-the-art preventive measures, including built-in fume extractors on welding machines and air-purifying respirators built into welding helmets.

NEEDLESTICK AND SHARPS INJURY PREVENTION: ARE WE REACHING OUR GOALS?

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

Exposure to bloodborne pathogens is one of the most dangerous occupational health hazards in ambulatory care. This article describes preventive interventions based on the industrial hygiene Hierarchy of Controls model. This model prioritizes preventive interventions through reduction or elimination of non-safety-engineered devices; use of engineering controls; isolation or elimination of hazards through the design or application of safeguards to prevent exposure; and use of administrative controls, work practice controls, and personal protective equipment. Funded by: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant no. 1RO1 OH008229).

 

SHARPS INJURIES AND BLOODBORNE PATHOGEN EXPOSURES IN HOME HEALTHCARE

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

Home healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Approximately 7.6 million individuals receive home healthcare services annually. The home healthcare setting poses many challenges that increase the risk of sharps injuries. Home health nurses face unique challenges in preventing sharps injuries in the home. This article examines risk factors for sharps injuries in the home healthcare setting, the scope of the problem, the regulatory framework relevant to sharps injuries, and the role of occupational health nurses in prevention. Funded by: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant no. 1RO1 OH008229).

 

STRENGTHENING THE CAPACITY OF HEALTH PROFESSIONALS SERVING MINORITY AND LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES TO PREVENT ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH RISKS

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

This two-year project sought to build capacity in over 1,800 health professionals serving low-income, immigrant/refugee or minority children who suffer disproportionately from the impacts of environmental

contaminants in the six New England states. The project goal was the empowerment of health professionals to create safe environments for children through their work by proactive identification of potential environmental hazards and sentinel illnesses, effective utilization of prevention and control strategies, advocacy and risk communication in patient care, and community-level intervention. Funded by: United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Children’s Health (grant no. CH-83265501).

 

STUDYING HOME HEALTH CARE NURSES AND AIDES: RESEARCH DESIGN AND CHALLENGES

Stephanie Chalupka, Ed.D.

Home healthcare (HHC) is growing rapidly and yet health and safety conditions of HHC nurses and aides are poorly understood. Study of this workforce presents unique challenges because it is decentralized, often parttime and mobile. This paper addresses the challenges of recruiting a large HHC cohort and describes novel cross-sectional survey methodology. A total of 1772, 18-page health and safety surveys were distributed and 1225 usable surveys were collected yielding a 69% overall response rate.

 

NURSING HEALTHCARE OUTREACH IN BELIZE

NU 400 International Health Care Outreach Students

Faculty Adviser: Kate Baldor, M.A., M.S.

Eleven senior nursing students, three faculty and five BSN alumnae from the WSC Department of Nursing are staffing two working trips to Belize in 2009. These are the fourth and fifth trips to remote villages in southern coastal Belize to work with local professionals in providing quality healthcare to underserved communities. On each trip we adopt one or more schools and complete physical assessments on approximately 300 students. The work we perform would take local staff six weeks to complete. Simple disorders, such as otitis, bronchitis, common cold, lice and infection, are treated on the spot after obtaining parental consent for treatment. Complex disorders are referred to specialists with transportation and support through our local sister organization, Equity House Belize.


 
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