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Amanda Brown, MSN, RN, CPN, CNL -- Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, RN, ACHPN, AOCNS

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Nurses transform lives through… research and leadership.

The Science of Nursing Care
Annual grants program provides vital support in the research of nursing practices

Recognizing the importance of nursing care, the American Nursing Foundation’s Nursing Research Grants Program supports and encourages careers in the research field. The grants help nurses shape and influence nursing practices and have played a vital role in launching larger scientific health studies. Funded by contributions from organizations and individuals, the grants fill gaps in evidence-based practice and address nurse workforce issues and the value of nursing contributions to safety, reliability, quality, and efficiency. In 2012, the Foundation funded 20 research scholars from this program, two of whom are profiled below.

For more information or to apply for a research grant, please visit anfonline.org/nursingresearchgrant

Amanda Brown, MSN, RN, CPN, CNL
Pediatric nurses’ assessment of procedural pain in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
University of Florida — Gainesville, Florida
Award funded by the Society of Pediatric Nurses

Ever since Amanda Brown began studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Florida, she knew she wanted to study autism in children. Since then, Brown, who also works as a clinical nurse leader at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., has narrowed her research to focus on pain assessment of autistic children.

“It’s important to assess pain in anyone,” says Brown. “Pain that is un-assessed or unrecognized goes untreated, and increased suffering can extend healing time in patients of all ages.” This is especially critical for children who are developmentally delayed.

The social, communicative, and sensory impairments experienced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can affect their expression of pain. Furthermore, the vast majority of parents of children with ASD report that their child responds differently to pain than children with more typical development patterns. “A lot of nurses weren’t familiar with autism and how these children communicate if they’re having pain or anxiety,” says Brown.

Brown’s research focuses on the work of pediatric acute care nurses at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, but hopes the study will lead to an improvement in the whole inpatient experience for children with autism.

Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, RN, ACHPN, AOCNS
Improving quality of life in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by integrating palliative approaches to dyspnea, anxiety, and depression
National Jewish Health — Denver, Colorado 
Award funded by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Foundation 

As the Lung Cancer Center program coordinator at National Jewish Health, the leading respiratory hospital in the nation, Bronwyn Long was regularly seeing patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a term for respiratory disorders such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

COPD is a major cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States. “The symptom burden that people with COPD have is worse than advanced lung cancer,” says Long. “People live with it day-in, day-out for a long time. It’s a very slow, progressive disease.” COPD symptoms can range from mild shortness of breath and coughing to severe difficulty breathing that requires patients to carry supplemental oxygen.

Following a study at Massachusetts General Hospital, that showed how palliative care helped cancer patients live longer and with a higher quality of life, National Jewish Health proposed a similar nursing research study for COPD patients. “Over time COPD patients lose the ability to be active,” says Long. “It’s a source of real frustration.” Using palliative care — customized medicine that focuses on bringing comfort to a patient — Long is looking to ease the physical, social, intellectual, and existential distresses that accompany the disease. “The goal is to make life more tolerable on a day-to-day basis.”
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