Two Nese College of Nursing students win awards at annual ENRS Conference

Nursing students

Olivia Rubio and Kalei Kowalchik

Credit: Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing students and faculty recently presented their research at the 2023 Eastern Nursing Research Society’s Annual Scientific Sessions in Philadelphia.

Students included Dana Kliewer, Brooke Rossi, Azza AL Harrasi, Khalid Almasloukh, Wendy Forrest Edgar, Kalei Kowlachik, Nahida Akter, Katherine Weyant, Olivia Rubio and Megan Waite; and faculty members Mike Evans, Erin Kitt-Lewis, Shari Hrabovsky, Rachel Allen, Barb Birriel, Solim Lee, Susan Leight, Susan Loeb, Evelyn Nieves, Anju Paudel, Marie Boltz and Liza Behrens.

The theme of this year’s conference, held March 23-24, was “Promoting Liberty: Addressing Determinants of Health Through Nursing Science.”

Of the 10 students that presented, two were conferred awards at the event. Olivia Rubio won first place for her research poster, "What Matters to Rural Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Thematic Analysis Demonstrating the Interconnectedness of the 4M’s" and Kalei Kowalchik won 2nd in the Early PhD Student Category for her “Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Attitudes, Knowledge, and Experience Providing End-of-Life Care” poster.

Rubio’s community-based study aimed to disseminate knowledge of the 4Ms framework and apply the 4Ms framework to older adults living in central Pennsylvania — the 4Ms are "What Matters," "Mobility," "Mentation" and "Medication."

The results concluded that in terms of What Matters, religion, family, hobbies, pets and career were among the top responses. Responses for Mobility included walking pets, mobility after surgery, biking, sports, and exercise classes; for Mentation, overall memory; and for Medication, concerns related to adverse effects and unnecessary medications.

Rubio is a graduate student in the Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner MSN/PhD (master of science in nursing/doctoral degree) program. Her current research interests broadly include older adults, heart literacy, rural health and heart failure. She plans to finish her master’s degree in 2023 and work in an outpatient cardiology clinic while finishing her doctoral program.

Kowalchik is a third-year BSN-PhD (bachelor of science in nursing/doctoral degree) student at Penn State Scranton and her current research area focuses on undergraduate nursing students’ attitudes, knowledge and experience providing end-of-life care and identifying supportive and academic resources to improve their comfort and preparedness to provide end-of-life care as they transition into the nursing profession.

“I am very grateful for receiving recognition for this study. I am very passionate towards bettering the state of the science surrounding end-of-life care and nursing education. I am incredibly thankful for the continued support and mentorship from the college, my advisors and dissertation committee, my colleagues, and my family.” stated Kowalchik.

Established in 1988 as the research arm of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Nursing Association and the New England Organization for Nursing, the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) recognizes the valuable contributions and excellence in nursing research as demonstrated by their members each year.

Learn more about the organization and event here