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Nursing Student Will Present at National Undergraduate Research Conference

The best and brightest research endeavors by Boise State undergraduate students, including a Nursing student, will be on display March 29-31 at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), which will be hosted by Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Nursing student Ryoko Pentecost is one of twenty-seven Boise State students who were accepted to present research projects. The students were chosen out of 3,200 applications nationwide.

Pentecost worked with faculty mentor Jane Grassley, PhD, RN, in researching “Supportive Needs of Adolescents when Initiating Breastfeeding.” The purpose of the study was to explore the needs of adolescents for social support from nurses when initiating breastfeeding. Adolescent mothers initiate and continue breastfeeding at rates that fall below the Healthy People 2020 breastfeeding goal of increasing the proportion of infants who are ever breastfed to 82% and who are breastfed exclusively at three months to 46%. Nurses who provide care to adolescents and their newborns in the immediate postpartum can influence their breastfeeding rates through the social support they offer adolescent mothers as they initiate breastfeeding. Through a secondary qualitative content analysis of adolescents’ responses to open-ended questions Pentecost and Grassley collaboratively identified specific nurse behaviors that meet the supportive needs of adolescent mothers when initiating breastfeeding.
Adolescent mothers wanted nurses to take the time to explain about breastfeeding, answer their questions, and provide consistent information, which supported their informational needs. Nurses supported teen mothers’ emotional needs by providing for the adolescents’ privacy, treating them with respect, remaining calm, and asking what they knew about breastfeeding. The adolescent mothers wanted nurses to support their appraisal needs by praising and encouraging their efforts to breastfeed, which helped them feel confident. For instrumental support, adolescent mothers preferred to have hands on tips and tricks about positioning, latching, and baby behavior as well as wanting nurses to stay with them as they learned to breastfeed. They also valued being given opportunities to work out breastfeeding under the nurse’s guidance. Nurses can use the findings of this study to reflect upon how they provide breastfeeding support for adolescent mothers in the immediate postpartum.

NCUR promotes undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, this gathering of young scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum. Through this annual conference, a unique environment is created for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement and models of exemplary research and scholarship, and helps to improve the state of undergraduate education.

“One of the strengths of Boise State is the prominent role that undergraduate students play in research,” said Sharon McGuire, vice provost for undergraduate studies. “We are in the top 10 percent of conference participants nationwide, and the fact that 87 percent of the research abstracts submitted by our students were accepted for presentation at the conference demonstrates the scope and depth of undergraduate research being conducted at Boise State.” The College of Health Sciences prides itself in integrating undergraduate research into its curriculum and strategic plan.