By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant

Melissa Bogle in Hong KongFor those who study health practices, it can be easy to lose sight of global health issues and focus on local concerns. Melissa Bogle, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student, had an eye opening experience when she attended the 25th annual Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing Research Congress in Hong Kong in late summer 2014.

The goal of the conference is to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.

“I didn’t know before the congress that STTI had a connection to the UN as a consulting group. This experience really helped me to think bigger about global goals and to broaden my understanding of health disparities around the world,” said Bogle. “The STTI Research Congress was a great opportunity to have hands on training in nursing leadership.”

Eight hundred people from all over the world attended the congress – nurse researchers, clinicians, educators, policy makers, and administrators. There were over 700 oral and poster presentations on a wide variety of topics relating to nursing research.

The 2014 STTI Research Congress theme, “Engaging Colleagues: Improving Global Health Outcomes,” encouraged attendees to engage in interprofessional collaboration, examine variations in interprofessional approaches, and improve global health outcomes through research, education, and practice. One nursing leader who presented her research on breast cancer outcomes made an impression on Bogle.

“She found that African American and Caucasian women had differing breast cancer recovery outcomes. The two groups have differing treatment in their communities and don’t receive the same access to quality healthcare. She was able to show her research to officials in Chicago and institute a change. She used her role in education to make a real difference in the world,” said Bogle.

Melissa Bogle in Hong KongShe considers the experience a life changing one.

“Seeing how nursing research worked in practice was eye opening. I’m so excited that being educated in that way can make a real difference. This is why I’m doing it.”

Bogle had traveled out of the country before, but had never been to Asia.

“It was a sixteen hour flight, definitely the longest I had been on. Everyone at the congress spoke English, but the culture there is totally different. I took one afternoon just for immersion, to explore the city. Birdnest soup and charred pigeon were on menus – I didn’t try that. But Hong Kong is a mixture of traditional and modern. You might see a temple right there with a skyscraper. It really broadened my thinking,” said Bogle.

Bogle was able to attend the STTI Research Congress with funding from the UTC Graduate School.

“I really want to thank the Graduate School and give them huge kudos. This kind of personal and professional development is just so important to students, and I couldn’t have done this without their support.”

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