Nursing Thesis Abstracts

Sarah Baker (Tara Mariolis), 2013

Campaign for a Smoke-Free Campus

Exposure to second hand smoke has been determined by the surgeon general to cause immediate cardiovascular changes in the nonsmoker (The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General –Executive Summary, 2006). Smoking has been banned from hospital campuses, public grade schools, inside public buildings, but there continues to be a lag on college campuses. Many universities in Massachusetts are included on the growing list of approximately 1,129 college campuses in the United States which have adopted the smoke free environment; these include UMASS Amherst, Bridgewater State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, and Westfield State University (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 2013). The goal here is for Fitchburg State University to be a part of this movement. To initiate the process, discussions with representatives from some of the Massachusetts campuses listed above were held to determine a plan of action for Fitchburg. It was determined that a 12 item questionnaire assessing interest in a smoke-free campus would be the next step. This survey will be distributed throughout the college community including students, faculty, and staff, and the results will be shared with the campus community.

Kristen Bissonnette (Robert Dumas), 2006

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States; over 30% of children ages 6-19 are considered overweight, and [of these, 15% are considered obese.] After performing a literature review of childhood obesity, data analysis determined that a child’s weight is a direct result of his or her environment, daily activities, and family’s lifestyle. Therefore, the focus of this research project is on changing the family’s lifestyle as a whole. The purpose of this research project is to provide information for parents to use in modifying lifestyles and in understanding the cause, complications, and treatments for childhood obesity. In an effort to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity throughout the region a web-site was developed and an informational pamphlet was distributed to local middle schools. The pamphlet is an educational tool targeting parents in attempts to define childhood obesity, identify the causes and dangers, and illustrate interventions to prevent unhealthy lifestyles. The web-site includes three domains: education, etiology, and affecting behavioral changes. The education domain’s objective is for parents to gain a working knowledge on the definitions and prevalence of childhood obesity. The etiology domain’s purpose is for the audience to better understand the causes of childhood obesity individual to each family. The goal of the behavioral domain is to suggest ways that users could modify their own lifestyles in order to decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity. By bringing childhood obesity into the awareness of families there is a decreased incidence of it occurring in the future. Although childhood obesity can not be cured overnight, parents and children can modify their lifestyles by making one change at a time.

Elizabeth Bochart (Christine Devine), 2005

Dance Therapy... Worthwhile or Waste of Time?

Before determining whether dance therapy is something worthwhile or something that is a waste of time, one must understand what dance therapy is. And to understand what dance therapy is, one must understand the roots of this phrase. Dance is an artistic form of movement, usually performed to music, in which the participant or dancer gestures through choreography or improvising. Therapy can be described as a form of healing, caring, or treating an illness. Just by combining these two words one can infer that dance therapy is an artistic form of movement that aims to care for and heal a patient, or treat an illness. Dance therapy is a unique form of alternative medicine that started about 60 years ago when Marian Chace combined dance with psychiatry. Combining body movements, either choreographed or improvised, with emotional, cognitive, and intellectual compositions of the mind, a dance therapist can help bring healing to various types of patients. Being a nursing student as well as a dancer, I find dance therapy to be an interesting alternative form of treatment which provides intriguing and worthwhile possibilities for my future practice. This research paper will review the components of dance therapy, the benefits it provides, and my thoughts and opinions as to why I believe that dance therapy is an effective form of treatment worthy of consideration.

Diana Elliott (Elizabeth Shaw), 2004

Defining Quality Nursing Care

Since Florence Nightingale, quality nursing care has been idealized as compassionate and caring. Now, more than one hundred years later, what is the definition of quality nursing care? Based on an extensive literature review, I have developed my own definition of quality nursing care supported by examined definitions of quality nursing care and examples from personal experiences. Quality nursing care requires a good bedside manner, teaching, communication skills, technical skills, an awareness of culture, patience, a full understanding of one’s own specialty and of sciences, a genuine personality, confidence, critical thinking, good organization, and compassion. A specific written definition of quality care will provide prospective nursing students with goals and standards of care to strive for throughout their journey into the health care field. This definition will also assist current nurses in motivating themselves to become better care givers.

Michelle Hiatt (Sheila Fredette), 2004

Diagnosis: Pre-Diabetes... What Does This Mean?

The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States. Goals set forth by the Healthy People 2010 project focus on using preventive programs to reduce the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes and to improve the quality of life for those who have or are at- risk for Type 2 Diabetes. This presentation will explain the development of a community-based outreach project designed to raise awareness of risk factors and the need for screening for Type 2 Diabetes. The project includes a brochure that highlights several areas including a simplified explanation of Type 2 Diabetes, risk factors, screening procedures, and simple lifestyle changes that can be used to decrease risk. An explanation of Pre-diabetes is also given in lay person’s terms because this is a new term used to target high risk individuals. Being diagnosed with Pre-diabetes allows time for lifestyle changes before the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, therefore preventive education is imperative to decrease risk. In order to increase the number of people being screened for Pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes, local clinics that provide screening are also listed along with other resources. The brochure will be distributed to a sample of the at-risk population of Fitchburg, MA. The intent of the public to be screened after receiving the brochure will be evaluated by voluntary responses to a postcard survey that will be attached to the pamphlet. If the educational outreach project is successful, there will be an increased rate of screening for and awareness of Pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in the at-risk population of Fitchburg, MA.

Grace Lesbirei (Richard Trifilo), 2007

HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Youth Population

Youth education concerning the prevention of HIV/AIDS is one of the most important factors in slowing this worldwide epidemic. An increasing amount of youths are now being infected with the HIV/AIDS virus presumably due to lack of knowledge about the importance of preventing this disease. While advancing medical research and eventually finding a cure for this disease is undoubtedly imperative, preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS with general education and knowledge is something that can be done right now. Educating the youth population is certainly very different than educating the adult population. Considering this and the fact that many youths’ knowledge of HIV/AIDS is limited, education must be geared in a simple and straightforward manner. A teen-friendly brochure appropriate for the age range of 15 years to 17 years of age, can greatly benefit this age group in educating and therefore preventing this disease. Researching common techniques used to educate the teen population led to the design of this brochure which employs use of concrete ideas and language appropriate for the broad spectrum of the readers’ abilities. These techniques will make the brochure interesting and informative, but at the same time will not be overpowering or so complex that it turns readers away from it. This brochure will generally inform youth about what the HIV/AIDS virus and disease are and how they can be prevented by means of abstinence and safe sex. This brochure will also dispel common myths about so called, “safe sex”. This brochure will hopefully educate and raise awareness in the youth population about how they can protect themselves from contracting HIV/AIDS.

Ashley Massa (Anne Meyer), 2008

Automated External Defibrillators Shocking the Public

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are life saving devices that provide a shock to the heart of a person in cardiac arrest. These devices are effective in saving lives and simple to use. A detailed examination of literature exploring the effectiveness of AEDs and their current availability in public arenas was conducted. Based on these findings, recommendations are made regarding expanding availability, increasing public awareness, and public training in the use of AEDs to save more lives. Emphasis is placed on the availability of AEDs in locations where there is an increased risk of cardiac arrest such as athletic and fitness training facilities. It is vital that the public have a better understanding of how AEDs work to eliminate fear of using them in an emergency situation. Increased public awareness and training will increase usage of AEDs and increase survival rates of people who suffer cardiac arrest in a non-medical setting.

Ashley Pouliot (Allison Shields), 2007

Physical Exercise as Treatment for Depression

Clinical depression is a prevalent mental illness that requires treatment intervention by many healthcare professionals. It has been estimated that eight to seventeen percent of all adults experience serious depression at some time during their life, despite race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Current research supports the idea that physical exercise may be an effective adjunct treatment for depression as physical exercise has been shown to relieve depression and improve overall mental health and well-being. The purpose of this project is two-fold; one, to review several research studies that examine the effect that physical exercise has on mood and the bio-chemical compounds that are know to play a role in mood elevation and two, to examine the relationship mood elevation has on the treatment of depression. Research such as this can assist healthcare professionals such as psychiatric nurses with the development of preventative programs as well as individualized treatment plans that incorporate nursing interventions which provide positive benefits for the whole person and not simply address the symptoms of depression.

Lorelei Beth Shields (Nancy Duphily), 2015

Integrative Health and Wellness: Applicability, Awareness, and Accessibility

The United States healthcare system is renowned for symptom and system based medical care; however, this is not the case for lowering incidences of chronic illness or providing access to whole patient based services of a preventive or wellness maintenance focus. With the Healthy People 2020 initiative,which “provides science-based, ten-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans”(, the U.S. Government is now focusing on increasing the quality and length of life of citizens through multiple objectives; this includes measuring the impact of prevention activities. Healthcare has begun to incorporate Integrative health practices which promote whole patient-centered care, encompassing physical, medical, mental, multifaceted social wellness. However, health care is fighting an internal battle. Healthcare practitioners are currently paid by health insurance companies which pay providers according to quantity of patients and not by the health status of the patient. A lack of awareness of and access to Integrative health care is slowing the promotion of prevention and wellness. The wellness of The United States of America hangs on the outcome of this war. Databases from the Fitchburg State University library were utilized to access literature for a literary review. The documentaries “Escape Fire” and “The Connection: Mind Your Body”, a survey taken by Fitchburg State University students and faculty, as well as textbooks utilized by current Fitchburg State nursing students were used to further support the findings.