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August “Research Briefs” Feature Publications and News


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Posted: 8/21/2006

Research Indicates Women in Military Conflicted About Domestic Violence Screening, Reporting
A study published this month in Military Medicine (Vol. 171, August 2006) shows that while women on active duty in the military supported the now revised policy requiring healthcare providers to offer abused persons services and to report the abuse, concerns remain about the consequences of that policy. In “Domestic Violence in the Military: Women’s Policy Preferences and Beliefs Concerning Routine Screening and Mandatory Reporting,” Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) researchers Jacquelyn Campbell, RN, PhD and Joan Kub, RN, PhD, and  co-authors found in interviews with active duty military women-25% of whom had experienced domestic violence (DV) during their military service-that despite support of the previous policies by a majority of respondents, less than half thought abuse should be reported to the commanding officer.  Those who had been abused were significantly less likely to agree with informing commanding officers. The interviews also revealed that more than 75% of the women agreed that routine screening would make it easier for abused women to get help, but about the same number felt by doing so, many would be at more risk for being hurt.  Additional findings included concerns about the negative effect on their military careers and those of their partners if abuse was disclosed and fears that routine screening and mandatory reporting would make it less likely that military women would disclose abuse.  Recent revisions in the policies now allow health care providers to keep the DV information confidential if victims so desire. 

Graduate Student is First NCIS Forensic Nurse
Shadonna Hawkins, a master’s student in the JHUSON Forensic Nursing Specialist Program, is the first nurse to join the U.S. Navy’s nationally recognized Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) as part of a summer internship. Hawkins, who has been assigned to the elite NCIS Death Investigations Unit, was recently asked to continue her tenure with the unit until she completes her degree in December. The service investigates the deaths of Navy and Marine Corps personnel, their family or dependents, whose demise was the result of homicide, suicide, natural causes, or accident, as well as the deaths of dependent youth under the age of 18.  In her position, Hawkins analyzes such information as investigator’s reports, autopsy reports and photographs, data gathered from interviews and past history information from family services in order to prepare case summaries that will be presented to the Death Review Board. Action, including criminal investigation, may be taken by that Board.  Hawkins has been told the addition of a forensic nursing perspective provides a significant contribution to the CSI analytical process, and she noted that her previous experience as an intern for two summers at the Baltimore Attorney General’s Office has been extremely helpful in her new position.

Positive Role of Spiritual Well-Being Seen Among African Americans Treated for Breast Cancer
Previous studies have found that spirituality and religiosity play a prominent part in African American culture and that they influence health practices, beliefs and outcomes. Now a study appearing in the ABNF Journal (Spring 2006), “Spiritual Well-Being, Religious Coping, and Quality of Life of African American Breast Cancer Treatment: A Pilot Study,” by JHUSON faculty members Phyllis D. Morgan, PhD, APRN, BC; Fannie Gaston-Johansson, PhD, FAAN, and Victoria Mock, DNSc, FAAN, and co-authors, shows significant positive correlations between spiritual well-being and a cancer patient’s physical, emotional, and functional well-being.  Conversely, the study indicated that as negative-or lack of-religious coping increased, physical well-being decreased.  The women in the study, all of whom were in treatment for breast cancer, described their spirituality as having a significant role in coping with their illness. The study also suggests culturally competent nurses recognize the coping strategies used by women from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds undergoing cancer treatment and work with them to incorporate spiritual well-being and religious coping strategies as part of comprehensive cancer care treatment. 

Strong Case Made for Evidence-based Nursing Practice
“The awareness that evidence-based medicine results in better care drives the education of healthcare administrators,” states JHUSON researcher Robin P. Newhouse, PhD, RN,  in “Evidence and the Executive: Examining the Support for Evidence-based Nursing Practice,” published in this month’s Journal of Nursing Administration (Volume 36, Number 7/8, July/August 2006).  Newhouse adds,” The benefit of evidence-based practice (EPB), however, not only applies to medicine but to nursing as well.” In her examination, she notes that the EBP approach is more than reviewing and incorporating research results during a policy review; it is an active process in which nurses ask an important question, search both research and non-research evidence, review, and rate the design, quality and consistency of evidence, and implement and evaluate practice changes. Among the benefits of implementing processes supported by evidence is the reduction of practice variations and improvement of patient outcomes.  The author includes The Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-based Practice Rating Scale to aid users in gauging the strength and quality of evidence being examined.  

Interdisciplinary Education Improves Quality Patient Care:  The Johns Hopkins Experience
In a study published in the August issue of Academic Medicine (Volume 81, Number 8, August 2006), JHUSON Assistant Professor Jo Walrath, RN, PhD, and co-authors describe how in ten months during 2004 and 2005, the JHU schools of nursing and medicine, and an administrative residency program implemented and evaluated a structured, interdisciplinary approach to learning health care quality improvement (QI).  The importance of interdisciplinary participation in planning QI projects, the value of the patient’s perspective on systems issues, and the value of a system’s perspective in crafting solutions to issues, all proved to be valuable lessons learned through the Achieving Competency Today II Program. 

Abbott to Study How Health Information Technology Influences Human Behaviors
JHUSON Assistant Professor Patricia Abbott, PhD, RN, has been awarded a Post-Doctoral Fellowship by the National Library of Medicine. The two-year full-time Medical Informatics Research Fellowship will focus on Human-Computer Interaction, specifically on understanding how human behaviors are influenced by health information technology interfaces. Abbott will explore the growing problem of “unintended consequences” of health information technology (HIT) and will focus on instances where HIT is inappropriately designed and employed without systemic considerations of user characteristics, and results in an increase in medical errors rather than the reduction envisioned.