Older people with multiple chronic conditions often face barriers that aren’t considered in setting goals for better health, a WSU College of Nursing undergraduate student found.

Mariah Petersen, who’ll graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, will present her findings at the Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) on Monday.

Petersen found that poverty was a common “contextual” barrier to achieving health goals. For example, 23.8 percent of patients whose goal was to lose weight cited poverty as a reason they couldn’t achieve that goal, while 27.3 percent said poverty was a barrier to getting more exercise. Peterson said poverty manifests itself as a barrier by making it harder for patients to buy healthy food, for example, or to work out at a gym.

Petersen concluded that healthcare professionals can help older patients with multiple chronic conditions overcome barriers to achieving health goals by encouraging patients to set their own goals and by making those goals realistic.

SURCA is the only WSU-wide event featuring the faculty-mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities of undergraduates from all majors, grades, and campuses — work that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to a discipline. It is a symposium hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research, which is part of WSU Undergraduate Education. It takes place on Monday, March 27, in the CUB. The Awards Ceremony will be livestreamed at 5 p.m. PST at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SWPo5yzVUM