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Internship leads to publication

| Jan Adams

Christine Johnstad graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She is employed by the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota and works as a Registered Nurse on the same cardiovascular surgical unit where she interned. She recently published an article in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing titled "Ebstein Anomaly: An Overview for Nursing" (doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2015.08.003).

Please tell me why, as a UW-Eau Claire baccalaureate nursing student, you selected Ebstein anomaly as a research topic?
During the final summer of my undergraduate career I had the privilege of being selected for a nursing internship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Among the variety of cardiac surgeries typically seen on the unit I was assigned to were a fair number involving children with congenital heart diseases. During the course of my internship I gained a great deal of insight into the complexities of congenital heart diseases, including Ebstein anomaly, which is a rare congenital heart disease. I had the opportunity to work with this patient population because Mayo Clinic has a renowned surgeon with a particular interest in Ebstein anomaly. As an outcome of my personal curiosity and research on this condition, it was revealed that the majority of the scholarly information available for health care professionals regarding Ebstein anomaly is physician-focused. I found that there was a deficit in resources geared towards nursing care and nurse appropriate assessments/interventions. My research focused on highlighting the important considerations for nurses when caring for an individual with Ebstein anomaly, the pathophysiology, symptoms, and effective care related to medical and surgical courses of treatment.

What prompted you to publish an article on your research?
My nurse manager at Mayo Clinic, Christopher Kohler, sparked interest in the project when he quizzed me during our morning rounds on the condition. I will admit I had a deficit of knowledge on the condition, which is when I began researching this congenital heart anomaly. During my final year at UW-Eau Claire I was approached by nursing faculty, Shelley-Rae Pehler, PhD, RN regarding the potential of publishing an article. The publication process was humbling, as I did not anticipate all of the necessary considerations required prior to submission. However, experienced faculty assisted me throughout the process. I am particularly grateful to Jill Hecker-Fernandes, DNP, RN and Regis Fernandes, M.D. for their contribution of clinical knowledge and expertise.

Are you considering additional research projects or publications?
Currently, I am not participating in a research project or study. However, from the knowledge and experience I gained through the scholarly writing process, I am far more confident about pursuing other publication opportunities in the future. It was a great learning experience and I would highly encourage any student to consider inquiring about publication options in their area of interest.

Building image by permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.  All rights reserved.