Two undergraduate students at Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) in Dallas will present a paper at the 2014 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this April at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. The conference is held biennially by the Council on Undergraduate Research.
Dallas-area seniors Chelsea Goodman of Bedford and Abigail Pinto from Lewisville, recently were notified by NCUR officials of their selection to present a research paper at the conference describing their work in India. The paper--Identification of Student Nurses' Perceptions of Nursing in Bengaluru, India: A Photovoice Study--was chosen from more than 4,000 submitted to conference organizers.
The pair traveled to India this past December to conduct photovoice sessions with nursing students there about how they perceive their chosen profession. Photovoice is an interview technique that employs photographs taken by the study participants themselves to facilitate expression and discussion on the topic being studied. Fourteen indigenous nursing students took part in the project.
Goodman found the Indian students eager participants.
"It was an incredible experience," Goodman says. "It's nice to go somewhere knowing that you are really wanted there, that they want to talk to you and share with you. They just loved to talk."
As both a nursing student and first-generation immigrant American of Indian descent,Pinto found the experiences she had in common with her Indian peers much more surprising than the differences.
"It really was intriguing that, whether in a Third World country or a First World country, we share similar problems as well as rewards," she says. "Just to see the similarities really struck a chord in me. Whether you're in India, Vietnam, America, or whether it's Texas or Louisiana, you're all going through the same struggles."
As they work to complete the paper before the conference, the pair's work ethic and enthusiasm continue to impress Dr. Shelby Garner, LHSON assistant professor of nursing and the project's principal investigator.
"These students really went the extra mile," said Garner, who accompanied the students to India. "This is not something that was required of them, and nursing school is so rigorous itself that it doesn't lend itself to time for extracurricular activities. So we're always extremely proud of students who do go for those extra opportunities."
Five additional Baylor nursing undergraduates also were selected to make poster presentations of their research at the NCUR meeting, which means Garner will be leading a very respectable contingent of seven undergraduate researchers to the conference.
"It's the most students we've ever had attend at one time," she says.