Impact of Research on Nursing Practice

March 23, 2016

Sara Linda

Sara '17HS and Linda '17HS talk about their women’s health-focused research

Sara Astarita and Linda Caruso, students in Simmons graduate MSN program, currently practice as RNs at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). As part of their NURS 508 Scholarly Inquiry course at Simmons, they completed research titled, Lived Experience of Women’s Sexual Health After HSCT (hematopoietic stem cell transplantation).

After presenting at Simmons Graduate Nursing Research Symposium, Sara and Linda have had additional opportunities to share their research and incorporate what they learned into practice. 

We asked them a few questions to reflect on the Simmons research experience.

What was the most rewarding part of the NURS 508 Scholarly Inquiry course?

To know that we were capable of conducting independent research as close colleagues that would have the power to greatly impact the care of our patients from our RN positions.

Why did you choose to focus on Women’s Sexual Health After HSCT for your Simmons research project?

Through personal and shared patient experiences we’ve understood and developed a great sympathy for this aspect of health of our women patients, which was not focused on at any points during their cancer diagnosis, treatment or HSCT. In addition we’ve always been passionate about women’s health and women’s health policy, and therefore always incorporate a focus of women’s health within nursing practice.

What part of the research was particularly surprising for you?

How consistent the sexual experiences were among the women we interviewed. These consistent experiences impacted numerous aspects of these women’s lives including their relationships.

Where have you presented your research?

Our research has been presented at MGH’s annual abstracts day; we were one of five nursing research projects accepted among hundreds of medical research abstracts. We’ve also shared our research with colleagues. Our work will be presented at MGH’s Nursing Research Day in May and at the Oncology Nursing Society’s annual ONS Congress conference in San Antonio, Texas at the end of April.

What has that been like?

It’s been very exciting to share our work. Most rewarding is to see education being brought to patients - we’ve created handouts and educated our unit’s nurses.

How has this research project impacted your nursing practice?

It has allowed us to impact another aspect of the care of our patients while becoming experts in sexual health related to oncology.

Do you plan to expand on this research? How?

We’ve discussed expanding our research to include men and more diverse patients such as women with vaginal graft versus host disease who were excluded in our study.

Pictured Left: Sara Astarita Right: Linda Caruso