Earlier this month, Sigma Beta Mu, the University of Arizona College of Nursing chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, announced that it plans to award two research grants, one to a UArizona Nursing Faculty Member and one to a PhD student. Clinical Assistant Professor Lisa Kiser, DNP, CNM, WHNP, will receive a $2,000 Research Conduct Grant for her project entitled “Quality of Life Indicators and Health Status of Migrants in Sonora MX and Tucson, AZ.” And third-year PhD candidate Chloe Littzen will receive a $1,000 PhD Student Research Grant for her dissertation study, “Young Adult Nurse Work-Related Well-Being.”
“Supporting nursing research, scholarship and education are important components of SIGMA’s vision to transform global healthcare,” says Assistant Professor and Sigma Beta Mu Research Committee Chairperson Jessica Rainbow, PhD, RN. “In line with that mission, our grant recipients this year seek to improve quality of life for migrants and young adult nurses. The SIGMA Beta Mu Chapter at the University of Arizona is pleased to support these projects and looks forward to hearing about the findings next year.”
"Supporting nursing research, scholarship and education are important components of SIGMA’s vision to transform global healthcare. In line with that mission, our grant recipients this year seek to improve quality of life for migrants and young adult nurses. The SIGMA Beta Mu Chapter at the University of Arizona is pleased to support these projects and looks forward to hearing about the findings next year." ~ Jessica Rainbow, PhD, RN, UArizona Nursing Assistant Professor and Sigma Beta Mu Research Committee Chairperson
Dr. Kiser’s project got its genesis when she was approached by UArizona Nursing’s partners at the college of nursing at UNISON in Hermosillo, MX to work with them on the project as a way of responding to the urgent challenges around migration on both sides of the border.
“Migration has become an urgent issue here in the borderlands and is a complex and rapidly changing dynamic,” says Dr. Kiser, noting that several health sciences colleges have joined together to support efforts to care for what were large numbers of migrants crossing the border. UArizona Nursing’s partnership with Casa Alitas, a program run by Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, Inc. that offers short-term shelter to the dispossessed. “As national policies have shifted these past three months, the entrance of migrants into Arizona has almost come to a stop, as migrants are now being returned across the border to wait in Mexico for their asylum hearing date. This is a complex situation that requires a coordinated, binational response and binational cooperation,” says Dr. Kiser.
Enabled in part by the Sigma Beta Mu research grant, Dr. Kiser hopes to create an opportunity for nurse educators and scholars to join together to examine the experience of being a migrant, both in the United States and Mexico. This research will allow for the comparison of experiences in the two countries and has the potential to inform healthcare policies and practices in both nations. It also is an opportunity for nurses to create a collective voice in how nursing can respond to the increasing demands migration is placing on healthcare systems, both at a national and a global level.
Investigators in Mexico and Arizona will interview migrants in their native language regarding their experience of being a migrant. The focus is on resiliency and self-efficacy, and what factors are or are not protective on the journey. They then will compile the data and work in a binational team to evaluate and report on the findings.
“Previous research has clearly demonstrated how dangerous and traumatic the migratory experience is,” Dr. Kiser says. “It also has demonstrated the tremendous resilience of many migrants, as they are often escaping violence and persecution in their own countries to seek safety for themselves and their families.”
Chloe Littzen, who expects to graduate in May 2021, was inspired to address the topic of young adult nurse work-related well-being by her experience working as a bedside nurse in a busy pediatric intensive care unit. “I suffered from burnout and ultimately suboptimal well-being at only 25 years old,” Littzen says. “I believe that through rigorous research we can develop needed knowledge to support our young nurses to thrive in these busy work environments.”
Littzen points out that the topic of her research is important because young adult nurses have the greatest suboptimal well-being compared to any other cohort of nurses. Coincidingly, young adult nurses leave the workforce at an alarming rate, which creates a shortage of nurses in the workforce, as well as nursing faculty to train more nurses. “We need to look at ways to keep our nurses well at the bedside, so we can sustain the workforce, and ultimately the health and well-being of all,” she says.
Littzen will complete her research with a convergent mixed methods design online. Using social media, primarily Facebook, she plans to sample young adult nurses to participate in a quantitative cross-sectional questionnaire via Qualtrics, as well as qualitative semi-structured interviews via Zoom videoconferencing. After both the quantitative and qualitative data are collected and analyzed independently, she plans to merge the results to gain a more comprehensive understanding of young adult nurse work-related well-being.
“While I don't have any specific hypotheses at this time, based upon the literature I expect to some degree that the role of perceived co-worker social support will be revealed as a strong predictor of young adult nurse work-related well-being,” she says. “I am excited to see what is revealed from the data, no matter what the findings are. Being awarded this grant by Sigma Beta Mu has given me hope for the future as I can now challenge the status quo of what we think is 'right research' and develop needed nursing knowledge to help our frontline nurses.”
Littzen hopes that the knowledge developed from her research can be applied to the healthcare work-environment, nursing education, and nursing research. She anticipates that the knowledge produced from her research can help guide nursing leaders and those in healthcare administration to better support their nursing staff's well-being. Additionally, she hopes that educators can utilize the knowledge produced from her research to help support our future nurses by teaching them how to support their well-being preventatively and help develop future interventions to support young adult nurses in the workforce.
Kiser and Littzen will receive their awards at Sigma Beta Mu’s Induction Ceremony, which will take place virtually, and will both share their findings at next year’s induction ceremony.