Two LU nursing professors earn State Research Award

Drs. Cynthia Stinson, JoAnne Gay Dishman School of Nursing associate professor and department chair, and Ruthie Robinson, director of Graduate Nursing Studies, have been selected by the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education to receive one of the organizations most prestigious awards in the state.

The two were recently named the 2022 recipients of the State Research Award by the TOBGNE for their research focusing on “Compassion Fatigue and Resiliency During the COVID-19 Pandemic” –– a problem that Stinson said is currently plaguing the nursing field. cindy_ruthie

The TOBGNE seeks to promote the health of Texas through excellence in nursing education, provide access to educational opportunities and expand the integrity and harmony of spirit of the profession. The organization’s goal is to enhance the preparation of entry-level and advanced practice nurses in Texas through the promotion of collaborative and facilitative relationships among Texas institutions involved with nursing education at institutions of higher learning. The State Research Award is awarded to one institution among all schools of nursing in the state of Texas.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our research, especially among our peers within our discipline,” Stinson said. “Compassion fatigue is a big problem in the nursing field and this means that more educators are recognizing that.”

Compassion can be described as having a deep concern or emotional care for others and, according to Stinson and Robinson, nursing is known as a career field for the compassionate. 

According to the duo’s research findings, between January 21, 2020 and October 20, 2021, there have been 44,979,605 positive cases of COVID-19 and 726,206 deaths in the United States. Over 77% of those deaths have occurred in people 65 and older and over 54% of those have been male. As the pandemic continues and patient hospitalizations surge, nurses are left on the front lines of health care faced with scenarios only imaginable.

“One of the problems that nurses have is that we are not able to turn the switch off –– we’re still working even when we are not working,” Stinson said. People in healthcare have a higher rate in suicide. This is the problem in healthcare that we are trying to work with.”

Throughout their research, Stinson and Robinson interviewed 14 nurses working on the front lines of the pandemic and in acute care throughout the U.S. examining their stressors in both their professional and personal lives and how they could help each nurse cope with their stressors.

“We’re asking how we can help healthcare workers take better care of themselves and what we’re hoping to get from our research is an idea about what we can do in our curriculum to help future nurses,” Stinson said. “There is a need to better prepare nursing students for a nursing career without the loss of quality of life.”