Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Julie Vognsen completed dissertation research

Julie Vognsen with doctoral committee (L: Dr. Edward
C. Fletcher and Yi-Hsin Chen - R: Dr. Rosemary Closson
and Victor Hernandez)
Congratulations to Julie Vognsen who successfully defended his dissertation entitled, Nurses' Attitudes Toward Death: Examining the Relationship with Background and Palliative Education and Training Variables, on March 21, 2017.

The purpose of her study was to describe Registered Nurses’ attitudes toward death and their perspectives on education and training related to death and end-of-life patient care. A complementary goal was to determine whether nurses’ attitudes and perspectives were associated with background variables. The three attitudes toward death included anxiety, escape, and neutral attitudes. The background variables of the nurses included formal educational level, age, gender, ethnicity, years of nursing practice, state of residence, and area of nursing practice. Her doctoral committee included Dr. Victor Hernandez, who served as her Major Professor; Dr. Edward Fletcher, Dr. Yi-Hsin Chen, and Dr. Rosemary Closson. To facilitate the dissertation defense, Dr. Chen served as the Outside Chair.

Julie has an extensive career in nursing and is currently serving as Off Tour Coordinator at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina AreaGovernment Administration. During her career, she realized that for many nurses, death is a very difficult subject to talk about and developed expertise in related education and training. As such, she taught classes and conducted workshops at conferences on death and dying to novice and expert nurses. Building on her professional background and interests, and upon joining the Doctoral Program in CWE at USF, Julie set out to determine nurses’ attitudes toward death and whether there is a relationship with extent of palliative education and training and background variables, as the basis for identifying implications for educational programs. Specifically, her dissertation research was driven by the following questions:

  1. What is the nurses’ profile of attitudes toward death (anxiety, escape, neutrality)?
  1. What is the extent of nurses’ education and training on palliative care? 
  1. What background (age, gender, years of experience, nursing area, ethnicity, state of residency) and educational and training variables has impacts on nurses’ attitudes toward death (anxiety, escape, neutrality)?
  1. What is the best set of background and education and training variables explaining attitudes toward death (anxiety, escape, neutrality)?
  1. What are the nurses’ perspectives on study results regarding attitudes toward death and relationship with background and education and training variables?
To learn more about Julie's study regarding conceptualization, methods, findings, and implications for practice and further research, you may visit his dissertation posting here.