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University of Texas professor garners nursing award for research on intermediate changes in dementia caregivers

Monday April 7, 2014
Cherie Simpson, RN
Cherie Simpson, RN
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Cherie Simpson, RN, PhD, MBA, RN, and assistant professor at the University of Texas School of Nursing, Austin, has been selected to receive the 2013 Judith Braun Award for Advancing the Practice of Gerontological Nursing through Research for “The Dynamic Experience of Dementia Caregiving,” a study of caregivers of persons with dementia.

“More than 5 million Americans are living with dementia,” Simpson said in a news release. “It’s no secret that the U.S. population is aging, and as it does, more people will be diagnosed with the disease, which means more people will become caregivers. Gaining a better understanding of how these individuals cope with the stress of caregiving is imperative and forms the basis of this study.”

The award followed a podium presentation at the 28th annual convention of the National Gerontological Nursing Association on Oct. 5 in Clearwater, Fla.

One unexpected finding in Simpson’s study showed the caregivers’ stress levels and sleep quality improved during the study without intervention.

“It led me to appreciate the phenomenon of healing presence and the benefits of comfort and a sense of being cared for as a result of being in the presence of a nurse,” Simpson said in the release. “The nurse’s attentiveness and availability could have provided a healing environment in which caregivers could experience positive change. In short, a nurse’s presence can be a valuable tool for the caregiver in any setting.”

As a clinical nurse specialist, Simpson maintains a geriatric psychiatric practice while teaching in the UT Austin School of Nursing’s alternate entry MSN program. The program is designed for people holding baccalaureate or graduate degrees in disciplines other than nursing and who are interested in obtaining both an RN license and an MSN degree.


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