Senior nursing students present international research at national nursing conference
Jenna Marie Baker and Kate Ramsey recently experienced something rare in the world of undergraduate college students.
Baker and Ramsey, both seniors in the Clemson University School of Nursing, are co-authors on a paper with nursing professor Roxanne Amerson, and they got the chance to present their paper on international research at a national nursing conference in New Orleans.
“It was a really cool experience,” Ramsey said. “[The conference] was all research. I liked hearing the other nurses’ perspectives and changes that they are trying to make and problems they are trying to solve.”
Baker and Ramsey were introduced to the research on the prevalence of anemia in children who live in the high altitudes of Peru during their classes for the global health certificate program.
The program includes classes focusing on global health disparities that immerse students in foreign cultures. One of the classes includes a summer trip to Peru where they study and work with a non-governmental organization.
Amerson started the program in 2015 with several colleagues including professors Janice Lanham and Lisa Miller. She had taken students on international service learning trips for about 10 years, but realized students needed more immersion.
“I recognized there was a need for students who were planning to work in global settings after they graduated to have a better foundation,” Amerson said. “They needed to have a background in global health and know how to work with people across diverse cultures.”
Ramsey and Baker were in the first cohort of students to take the specialized courses. Through the program, Ramsey had the chance to travel to Peru and collect data for what would become her research presentation.
Though Baker has not yet gotten the chance to work in Peru, she worked with Ramsey and Amerson to analyze data. They continued the research they started while in the certificate program for their nursing departmental honors project.
After months of work, their paper was accepted to the Transcultural Nursing Society Conference where they had the chance to network and meet with nurses who work all over the world.
“The students did an excellent job presenting; it was quite an accomplishment,” Amerson said. “They were the only students –undergraduate or graduate– who presented a podium presentation at this national level conference.”
Though the global health certificate program is still considered to be in its infancy stage, Amerson considers this conference presentation to be a stepping stone to success for the program and is proof that she is accomplishing her mission to give her students a good foundation in global nursing.
Ramsey and Baker both said they wouldn’t have gotten this chance to present had they not been involved with the certificate program. They both also agreed that the conference inspired them to continue their dreams of being transcultural nurses.
“The conference taught me that you don’t have to go abroad to work with various cultures. I also learned about opportunities to work abroad and various health disparities in different parts of the world,” Baker said. “The conference showed me that I can choose to do research and make a difference, because I saw all these nurses at the conference doing that.”
The two seniors said this program has given them a solid foundation to pursue their dreams. Baker hopes to become a travel nurse, and she said the program has provided valuable information about culturally competent care and health care situations that are more prevalent outside the U.S.
Ramsey has always wanted to do medical missions. The conference and her experience in the certificate program have provided real-world examples of health care professionals working with refugees, people in rural areas or residents of Indian reservations. This exposure to underserved populations has only provided more inspiration for her to find a culture for which to advocate.
“It opened my eyes about what we can do here,” Ramsey said. “It’s made me eager to find a certain community or group of people within my own region that I can invest in whether through research or advocacy.”
Since the program started two years ago, class enrollment has grown to nearly 20 students. Amerson hopes to have more students from the program share their research at conferences and see more students across a variety of disciplines join the program in the near future.
For more information about the program, visit The School of Nursing website or email Amerson at Roxanna@clemson.edu.