Research News

New study to investigate role of sleep in chronic pain

Marian Wilson
By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane
SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State University will lead a study to understand the relationship between sleep and chronic pain, part of a nationwide effort to address the rising abuse of opioid pain relievers and expand the arsenal of non-drug treatment options.

“Physicians are being pressured to stop prescribing so many opioids,” said Marian Wilson, assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing and lead investigator on the study. New prescription guidelines issued this year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend providers limit the use of opioids in patients with chronic pain, she said.

“It’s not fair to start cutting longtime opioid users off of their medications without giving them some effective alternatives,” she said.

The relationship between sleep and pain has not been adequately studied, she said: “There’s a small body of literature that suggests that pain and sleep correlate – bad sleep goes with bad pain – but we don’t know for sure which comes first. ‘Is my pain worse because I’ve slept poorly, or was my pain so bad that I couldn’t sleep?’” » continue reading

New police training draws from science of deadly force

Lois James

By Linda Weiford, WSU News
A portable use-of-force simulator aimed at launching a new era in police training is being rolled out by Washington State University.

Called the Counter Bias Training Simulation, or CBTsim, it is the only simulation technology to use interactive video scenarios derived from extensive research of actual police-involved shootings over 30 years in the U.S.

Developed by researchers at WSU’s Simulated Hazardous Operational Tasks Laboratory in Spokane, the device is being offered as a science-driven training tool at a time when shootings involving police are under intense public scrutiny. » continue reading

WSU Health Sciences Update: College of Nursing Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel


WSU College of Nursing Dean Griffin-Sobel discusses simulation, nursing research, interprofessional education and collaboration, and her plans for the future of the college.

» watch video

What’s New in Grants?


Four new awards were received by College of Nursing and Nursing/Community Health investigators in the month of November, totaling $273,001 in funding:

Demetrius Abshire, Janessa Graves, Mary Roberts, Janet Katz, Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Cindy Corbett.  Support Systems in Accelerated Nursing Programs: Gender-Based Perspectives and Impact on Academic Outcomes. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: New Careers in Nursing program

PI: Marian Wilson, Co-I: Hans Van Dongen. Hypnosis and Meditation for Pain Management in Veterans, Efficacy and Mechanisms.

PI: Hang Liu, Co-Is: Subhanshu Gupta, Martin Schiavenato. Self-Weighing, Self-Powered, Smart Sensing Textile.

PI: Sterling McPherson, Co-Is: Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, John Roll. Clinical Trials Network: Pacific Northwest Node.

First year PhD student Teresa Bigand has been awarded the Nursing Economics Foundation Scholarship in the amount of $5,000, as well as the Dorothy Detlor Graduate Fellowship in Nursing Education Scholarship in the amount of $2,710 toward her program of study.

Other Good News from our Alumni

Molly Altman received the Clinical Scholarship from Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) for her project: Preserving Self: Medication-Taking Practices and Preferences of Older Adults with Multiple Chronic Medical Conditions.

Gail Salvatierra received the Health Policy Systems Scholarship from Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) for her project: Rapid Response Teams: Is it Time to Reframe the Questions of Rapid Response Team Measurement?


The College of Nursing and Nursing/Community Health investigators, in either the PI role or Co-I role, submitted ten new proposals in November, totaling $7,113,865 in requested funds:

PI: Michael McDonell, Co-Is: Naomi Chaytor, Sterling McPherson, Sean Murphy, John Roll. Novel ETG Based Contingency Management for Alcohol in the Severely Mentally Ill.  submitted to NIH/NIAAA

PI: Tracy Skaer, Co-Is: Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Michael McDonell. Mindfulness-based Practices and Multiple Family Groups in Chronic Pain Patients With a High Risk of Opioid Misuse.  submitted to NIH/NCCIH

PI: Janet Katz. Nursing Pathways: Community Alliance for Health. submitted to Health Resources and Administration (HRSA)

PI: Patricia Butterfield. Intervention to Improve Safety/Health/and Well-being in Healthcare: Patient Handling. submitted as a subcontract to Oregon Heath & Science University (OHSU) who submitted to NIH/NIOSH

PI: Lori Bailey. Washington State University Nurse Faculty Loan Program 2017. submitted to Health Resources and Administration (HRSA)

PI: Kimberly McKeirnan, Co-Is: Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, Linda Maclean, Lisa Woodard. Building the Prototype of a Regional System that Will Increase Access to Quality Patient Care through Medication Optimization. submitted to Empire Health Foundation

PI: Hang Liu, Co-Is: Subhanshu Gupta, Martin Schiavenato. Self-Weighing, Self-Powered, Smart Sensing Textile. submitted to WSU Gap Fund

PI: Demetrius Abshire, Co-I: Kenn Daratha. A Multilevel Examination of Urban-Rural Differences in Treatment and Outcomes in Patients Hospitalized for Acute Myocardial Infarction.  submitted to Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI)

PI: Janessa Graves. Harnessing Technology to Improve Health information and Access for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.  submitted as a subcontract with the University of Washington who submitted to NIH/NLM

PI: Tullamora Diede. Professional Identity in the Lived Experience of Hospital Nurses. submitted to Northwest Center for Occupational Heath & Safety

Research Spotlight

The Value of Phenomenology in the Spectrum of Nursing Research

Billie Severtsen
Billie M. Severtsen

Nov. 28, 2016

Why is this methodology important as one component in the “stable” of nursing research? The answer lies in the idea of what it means to think deeply about something. Thinking deeply means pondering, mulling over and allowing what at first may be hidden to show itself. Although we all do this as we live our lives, relatively few of us think of it as a deliberate act. Moreover, the words – mull over, ponder, allowing – sound old fashioned and out of date when one considers the amazing discoveries that technological advances have brought us. Yet, because both health care and nursing research deal with people, we should remember that people are not merely numbers. People have embodied intelligence (the intelligence of their bodies), background meaning in their lives (fore structure), they possess a hierarchy of concern and they have the context of the situation in which they find themselves.

With this complex idea of “people” as a beginning premise, it becomes clear that it is important to balance the hard science of quantitative research with an authentic voice of the people being studied. The process of doing this is not unlike what happens when we, in health care, do as we assess and treat a patient. We gather an extensive record of scientific facts about the patient – – lab values, physical exam, medical and social history, medication record, etc. A good clinician also takes time to talk with the patient to assess the patient’s own narrative. The clinician does this because, in the act of showing concern for the patient by paying attention to their story, something else shows up. That “something else” is what represents “true” or “authentic” for the patient. True, in this context does not refer to a fixed, unmovable true, but rather true as a relative concept showing up for the patient in relationship to the topic being studied.

This example of clinician and patient can be compared to nursing research. We need quantitative data to study and advance the profession of nursing. We also need the authentic voice of the individuals being studied to describe truth as it shows up for them. Only in this way do we obtain a more complete picture of the “phenomenon” or the thing being studied.

Phenomenology allows us to open ourselves to the mystery of what is authentic for the people we study. In the deliberate act of allowing this authenticity to show itself, we can contribute meaningfully to the research topics that are important in advancing nursing science.

Research FYI

There have been some updates and changes from our Washington State University Office of Research and Development (ORSO).

  • There is a new version of the Budget Workbook and it has been uploaded to the ORSO Guidelines page.  Please be sure to use this latest version.
  • On budget spreadsheets, if you have the budgets broken out on more than one tab, each tab needs to be certified.
  • There will soon be no more ex post facto eREX submissions. ORSO is still working on the process, but manual approval will be required for any proposal submitted late (less than 2 business days). A written explanation as to why the submission is late will be required, and each approver will have to verify they have read the explanation and approve the submission. If the approvals aren’t going to be completed by the deadline, it will take a waiver from Dan Nordquist to submit. ORSO expects the new eREX prototype to be out in March, and finalized by June.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published their updated Rural America at a Glance, 2016 Edition.  This report highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas, focusing on the U.S. rural economy, including employment, population, poverty, and income trends.

University of Utah, College of nursing offers an online resource for Journal Writing.  Writing for Professional Journals is open to the public and is licensed under Creative Commons. Patricia Gonce Morton, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Utah College of Nursing Dean, authored the content as part of a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) while participating in the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow program.

Looking for a good Ted Talk?  Exploring the problem of high school drop outs, Sir Ken Robinson offers a 19 minute talk entitled How to Escape Education’s Death Valley.

Having trouble balancing it all?  Guardian’s Higher Education Network offers a piece, Academia is now incompatible with family life, thanks to casual contracts.  In it, Anonymous Academic, shares the struggles of lack of job security on academic tracks, balancing home and work and the pressure to achieve.  Similarly, nature completed an online poll where almost two thirds of respondents stated they have considered quitting research.  In Hard work, little reward: Nature readers reveal working hours and research challenges, researchers cite “the fight for funding” (44%) as the largest challenge and “lack of work-life balance” a distant second (19%).

The Surgeon General has released Facing Addiction in America, a report on alcohol, drugs and health.  They address the scope of the problem and the barriers to care among other issues.

Researchers have uncovered a surprising possible trigger for some preterm births: calcium buildup in the womb. Calciprotein particles as potential etiologic agents of idiopathic preterm birth is just the beginning of this promising work that will hopefully lead to larger samples to validate their findings.

In times of political uncertainty, the Scientist offers direction for researchers who are worrying about the future of NIH funding.  In Opinion: Toot Your Horn, Jordan Gaines Lewis provides very specific ways for individuals to reach out to policy makers.

Can Poverty Lead to Mental Illness?  NPR’s Emily Sohn addresses this emerging phenomenon and the researchers that are exploring it.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners shared the following infographic during Nurse Practitioner’s Week.

Research – Spotlight

Julie Postma recently attended Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) annual meeting held in Washington DC.  PCORI awards focus on stakeholder investment and Julie attended the conference with her community partners from the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition and Clean Air for Kids program at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department.  Three Washington State University College of Nursing DNP students, Brittany Collier, Madaline Goldmann and Amy Ryll, received scholarships to attend the meeting.

Kevin McCain and RaKisha McCain from the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition, Judy Olsen, from Clean Air for Kids program at the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and Julie Postma.

Washington State University, College of Nursing DNP students Brittany Collier, Madaline Goldmann, Amy Ryll, and Julie Postma

Research – Just for Fun

Drawn to Drink: A Double-Blind Randomized Cross-Over Trial of the Effects of Magnets on the Taste of Cheap Red Wine,” G. James Rubin, Gareth Hahn, Edward Allberry, Ross Innes, and Simon Wessely, Journal of Wine Research, vol. 16, no. 1, 2005, pp. 65-69., tested magnetized red wine to see if the taste was improved.  Read the full article to see what they discovered.

Research Funnies

Research Puzzle

Recent Publications

Dekker, L. (2016). Cultural safety and critical race theory: Educational frameworks to promote reflective nursing practice. In H. Brown, & R. Sawyer, Forms of practitioner reflexivity: Critical professional conversations for change in a new age. Palgrave Macmillan.

Sawyer, R. D., Dekker, L., & Rasmor, M. (2016). In search of an artistic curriculum identity. In R. D. Sawyer, & J. Norris, Book I-Dialogic interdisciplinary self-study through the practice of duoethnography Palgrave Macmillan.

James, L., James, S., Vila, B. Testing the Impact of Citizen Characteristics and Demeanor on Police Officer Behavior in Potentially Violent Encounters. Policing: an International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, (in press).

Katz, J., Vandermause, R., McPherson, S., & Barbosa-Leiker, C. (2016). A demonstration of mixed-methods research in the health sciences. Nurse Researcher, 24(2), 24-29.

Klein, T., Graves, J., & Graham, J. (2016, in press). Driving following adolescent concussion: Advice by nurse  practitioners in absence of standardized recommendations. Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

Fitzgerald, C., Purath, J.,  Van Son, C., Duvall, D., Eddy, L. (2016). A Course-Based Approach to the DNP Project: Supporting Student Growth from Concept to Completion. Nurse Educator. Accepted for publication Nurse Educator.

Rasmor, M. (2016). Digital storytelling in nurse practitioner education: a beginning of reflective clinical practice. In H. Brown, & R. Sawyer, Forms of practitioner reflexivity: Critical professional conversations for change in a new age. Palgrave Macmillan.

Kooienga, S., & Rasmor., M. (2016) Shoulder pain assessment for the occupational health nurse. Workplace Health and Safety Journal, Volume 64, Number 10, p. 448-452.

Schiavenato, M., & Holsti, L. (2017). Defining Procedural Distress in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and What Can Be Done about It. Neonatal Network, 36(1).

Hu, H., Gupta, S., & Schiavenato, M. (in press). A Near Zero Power CMOS Relaxation Oscillator for Biomedical Applications with 19.1ppm/°C Temperature Coefficient. IEEE Sensors 2016 Conference Proceedings.

Marian Wilson, Vicki Gettel, Judith Walsh, and Sunny Esquenazi (2016) Caring Compassionately for Hospitalized Patients: Can Nurse-Delivered Massage Address Compassion Fatigue?. International Journal for Human Caring: 2016, Vol. 20, No. 3, pp. 146-154.

Recent Presentations

Abshire, D.A., Lennie, T.A., Barbosa-Leiker, C., Burduli, E., & Moser, D.K. (2016, November). Depressive symptoms, anxiety, and perceived social support do not predict weight change in overweight and obese rural adults with low education attainment. Poster presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, New Orleans, LA.

Barron, S.G. (2016, November).  Using Feedback as a Life Preserver (Instead of a Sword).  Presented at the Acute Care Education Annual Leadership Summit, Vancouver, WA.

Mackay-Neorr, C. L. & Nogueras, D. (2016, November).  Our struggle is our strength: Cultivating nursing peer mentors for community leadership.  Poster session presented at the Annual American Association of Colleges of Nursing Baccalaureate Education Conference, Anaheim, CA.

Postma, J. & McCain, RaKisha. (2016). Invited speaker. “Pre-engagement in patient-centered outcomes research: Lessons from the field.” Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s annual meeting, Washington D.C. 11/19/16.

Schiavenato, M. Innovation in Nursing.  [Keynote Speaker]. Man in Nursing Conference. November 11, 2016; Garden Grove, CA.

Brody, A., Gillespie, G., Palazzo, S., Schiavenato, M., Pesut, D. Diversity Dynamics: Lessons Learned from the Experience of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars. [Podium]. Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science, State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research.  September 15, 2016; Washington, DC

Wilson, M., & Riedy, S. (November 2016). Survey of sleep heath in a community hospital. Guest speaker. Pullman Regional Hospital, Pullman, WA.

Wilson, M., Orr, M., Sherazi, N., & Finlay, M. (September 2016). Online pain self-management for adults in opioid addiction treatment. Guest speaker. Spokane Treatment Solutions, Spokane Valley, WA.

Wilson, M., & Mason, A. (November 2016) Engaging adults with chronic illness in online depressive symptom management. Washington State University College of Nursing, Research First Friday Series, Spokane, WA

Helpful and Interesting Links

National Institute of Health (NIH) News & Events – This month they share research that shows there is no safe level of smoking.  Less than one cigarette per day over a lifetime caused 64 percent higher risk of earlier death.

The National Institute of Nursing Research “News and Notes” – This month they roll out Stories of Discovery.  This webpage spotlights programs of research from NINR-funded institutions around the country.

The NIH Extramural News is a blog written to address current issues related to research and NIH. This month they share NIH request for public Input on Data Sharing and Data Management.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) continues to provide funding and resources for improving access to health care. This month they released a new analysis of the nation’s behavioral health workforce.  The report, entitled National Projections of Supply and Demand for Selected Behavioral Health Practitioners:  2013-2025, provides estimates for the supply and demand of nine separate behavioral health practitioner disciplines.  This brief, along with other workforce information, is available on HRSA’s National Center for Health Workforce Analysis website.

Science Daily features breaking news and videos about the latest discoveries in health, technology, the environment, and more – from major news services and leading universities, scientific journals, and research organizations. This month they share Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life-threatening cancer, where researchers found people suffering cancer-related anxiety or depression found considerable relief for up to six months from a single large dose of “magic mushrooms”.

WSU Informer: Funding Opportunities Resource

Puzzle key: random, accuracy, framework, inductive, construct.   …future income