Sarah-Hollman-Vancouver
By Brenda Alling, WSU Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Of all infectious diseases that endanger young children’s lives, pneumonia remains the world’s biggest threat. Yet some simple, low-cost measures could go a long way toward reducing the problem.

That was the surprising discovery Sarah Holman made in researching a paper for a senior-level nursing class at Washington State University Vancouver.

For her paper, “Grand Challenge: Childhood Pneumonia Mortality in Nigeria,” Holman received the 2016 WSU Vancouver Library Research Excellence Award. Designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate research using the library and its resources, the award carries a $300 prize. Holman’s paper will be part of a display in the library in the fall.

A senior nursing student, Holman wrote the paper for a class in population health theory taught by College of Nursing professors Phyllis Eide and Shelly Fritz. They asked students to research and write about a significant health challenge facing a developing country and propose at least three evidence-based solutions to address it.

Holman found four potential solutions: educating women about the value of breastfeeding in preventing pneumonia, spreading knowledge about the disease through the media, increasing vaccine production in Nigeria and increasing awareness of signs of pneumonia needing immediate attention.

After graduating, Holman plans to look for a nursing job. She said she’d love to work at a hospital that does research, and the research award has boosted her confidence.

“The library research award has validated the time and effort I put into researching and writing this paper,” she said. “It has also encouraged me that I have the ability to succeed in future nursing graduate studies.”