Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


Study Investigates the Symptoms Pregnant Women Should Look For
to Anticipate the Onset of Labor

Allentown, PA (December 16, 2003) - The Pennsylvania State Nursing Association (PSNA) has recognized Nancy Johnston, assistant professor of nursing at Cedar Crest College, with the Pauline Thompson Clinical Nursing Research Award at the PSNA 100th Annual Summit. The award is presented to the applicant with the best-designed patient/client research project in the entire state of Pennsylvania.

Johnston's research, "Body Listening in Late Pregnancy," will examine the factors that lead to premature labor in a healthy pregnancy. Johnston suspects that pregnant women may not be receiving evidence-based instructions from nurses in prenatal care settings and therefore are not interpreting symptoms of impending labor correctly or reporting them early enough to prevent premature delivery. "After over forty years of research, clinicians and researchers have not made a difference in the early detection of premature labor," says Johnston. "In fact, perinatal researchers have not been able to discover what actually triggers full-term healthy labor. The findings of this study could contribute to an understanding of the triggers to onset of labor in a healthy pregnancy and could be used in a future study to predict the onset of labor in high-risk populations."

"I was very excited to receive the award. Not many people are aware that nurses do conduct research, so it was an honor to have my research recognized," said Johnston. Students in Cedar Crest's nursing program will be assisting Johnston with the study. As part of the nursing curriculum, students must complete 24 hours of hands-on research with a registered nurse. Through this requirement, students are better able to understand the research process and the role of the professional nurse. In the past, students have researched a myriad of subjects - from congestive heart failure to pain in children to the value of family presence in the emergency room.

Johnston is conducting the research to fulfill the requirements for a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree from Penn State University. As an educator, Johnston feels that this project has brought her full circle. "Its not just about me completing my dissertation, but about my students learning about the process as we do the perform the research together."

Three other Cedar Crest College Nusring faculty members, Wendy Robb, Sandy Leh and Mae Anne Pasquale, are also engaged in doctoral studies and are preparing to research topics such as nursing students' experiences in community health nursing and energy-based alternative therapies like Reiki application to nursing practice.

For more information, or to set up an interview with Nancy Johnston, please call the Cedar Crest College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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