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Family nursing: From Eau Claire to Odense

| Jan Adams

Three representatives from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences traveled to Odense, Denmark, to present their scholarship at the 12th International Family Nursing Conference, Aug. 18-21, 2015. The conference was hosted by the International Family Nursing Association which is committed to improving family health globally through nursing research, education, and practice. Their conference is the premiere venue for best practice in family health nursing and over 450 nursing scholars and practitioners represented 31 countries were in attendance. The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire contingent consisted of one faculty member and two recently graduated advanced practice nurses.

Dr. Cheryl Lapp, Professor of Nursing, featured the work of the UW-Eau Claire Human Development Center (HDC) where several referred families are assessed each semester by a team of inter-professional student clinicians. These graduate and undergraduate student clinicians work with six faculty supervisors from different professional departments. The title of Dr. Lapp’s presentation was: “Teaching family nursing in an interdisciplinary assessment clinic.”

Maria Stracke, a May of 2015 Master of Science in Nursing graduate with role preparation in the Nursing Education, presented, “Impact of anxiety on the individual and family in early stage breast cancer survivors: A literature study.” This project was completed as part of her scholarship in nursing’s graduate program of studies. Ms. Stracke credits her advisor, Dr. Rita Sperstad, for inspiring her to present her work at an international conference. Her presentation was received, with much audience engagement.

Christine Ostendorf, a recent Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate, collaborated with Karli Hinton on Dean Linda Young’s research titled, “Secondary analysis: The family experience following a bone marrow/blood cell transplantation.”  Sharing the secondary analysis research associating nursing diagnoses and the family illness experience described by the Family Management Style Framework was well received by the audience. The research emphasized the importance of the family’s role in adult bone marrow/blood cell transplantation. Dr. Ostendorf presented the group’s research, as Dean Young and Ms. Hinton were unable to attend.

The three presenters, Lapp, Stracke and Ostendorf, also set up a UW-Eau College of Nursing and Health Science recruitment table with information about our Nursing Department. The three attendees express their gratitude for university support, specifically the support of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), Learning and Technology Services (LTS), the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP), and Sigma Theta Tau, International (STT), the International Honor Society for Nursing.

All three nurses found the conference a rich experience, particularly because the global focus projected a variety of cultural perspectives on otherwise familiar family health issues. As Ms. Stacke stated, “It was valuable to share and learn about what other countries are doing, and to improve our own family health, especially in times of illness, crisis, and financial hardship.”