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Blinn College nursing students present original research at national conference

Emily Calk, Ashley Frei, and Brittany Torres selected to showcase findings alongside faculty and industry professionals in Scottsdale, Ariz.

January 26, 2018

Three Blinn College Associate Degree Nursing students recently presented original research alongside hundreds of faculty and industry professionals at the nation’s only conference dedicated to associate degree nursing education.

Emily Calk (Bracketville), Ashley Frei (Milano), and Brittany Torres (Crawford), members of Blinn’s Alpha Delta Nu national honor society for associate degree nursing, displayed their findings at the Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. This year’s conference featured workshops and exhibits focused on advancing quality and safety in the healthcare industry.

The team worked together under the direction of Blinn Simulations Director Sami Rahman, and instructors Karla Ross and Ellyse Lamont.

“Emily, Ashley, and Brittany were the only undergraduate student group to present a true research project at this year’s national conference,” Rahman said. “We are fortunate to have such hard-working, motivated students at Blinn, and to have the resources to involve them in research this early in their educational careers.”

The students began outlining an idea for their capstone research project last summer after learning to place and care for percutaneous endoscopic gastronomy (PEG) tubes during their clinicals. After analyzing the protocol, the trio discovered no new research has been published in the last 20 years regarding PEG, a procedure in which a tube is placed through the abdominal wall to allow nutrition, fluids, and medication to be placed directly into the stomach.

“We noticed significant knowledge gaps between what we were learning in the classroom and what we were seeing out in the field due to the lack of attention to this topic,” Torres said. “The goal of our project was to shed light on these inconsistencies, and spur the drive for more research on best practices and safer ways to administer medication via PEG tubes.”

The students balanced classes and clinicals with their research initiative, which included reviewing literature, developing surveys, distributing them to nurses at local hospitals, and collecting and analyzing data.

“The research and survey results proved that our topic was not only a local need, but also a national issue,” Calk said. “Our professors encouraged us to present at the OADN conference, so we could share our work with professionals across the country.”

The group was allotted several hours during the conference to present a poster detailing their research to nursing faculty and professionals. They received accolades from numerous attendees, including the editor of the Teaching and Learning in Nursing journal, who showed interest in publishing their findings.

“This has been such an amazing experience for me,” Frei said. “Blinn has allowed me the opportunity to spark a national conversation that could potentially change the way medicine is practiced.”

Located at the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Bryan, Blinn’s Associate Degree Nursing Program prepares students for a nursing career and for transfer into a bachelor degree program at a four-year university. Students who complete Blinn’s Associate Degree Nursing Program and pass the NCLEX-RN have a job placement rate between 97 and 100 percent and are qualified for a wide array of nursing positions, including pediatric, geriatric, hospice, school, and clinical nursing. New graduates can expect to earn over $52,000 per year.

Blinn’s Associate Degree Nursing Program invites prospective students to learn more about the program at its upcoming information sessions this spring. Blinn will host sessions at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7, March 7, April 4, and May 2 in Room 3539 of the Health Science Center Clinical Building I, located at 8447 Riverside Parkway (State Highway 47) in Bryan.

In addition to associate degree nursing, Blinn’s Division of Health Sciences offers dental hygiene, emergency medical services, fire science, health information technology, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, surgical technology, and vocational nursing programs.