Three members of the Connell School of Nursing (CSON) faculty will be honored for their contributions to nursing research and education at the Massachusetts Association of Registered Nurses convention on April 12.
Lichuan Ye, an assistant professor in CSON, will be presented with the Excellence in Nursing Research Award for her research concerning sleep disorders. She became interested in sleep apnea and other sleep disorders after completing her residency in a pulmonary care unit.
Ye, who is originally from China, received her bachelor of science in nursing and master of science from Sichuan University West China Medical School. She came to the United States in 2004 to earn her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Currently, Ye conducts research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Four CSON undergraduate research fellows and three graduate students assist her with her research. Working with students is one exciting part about doing research in Boston, she said.
In addition to researching sleep apnea, Ye works to help patients sleep better during their stay at a hospital. She goes to different patient clinics and interviews patients on their sleep experiences in order to see what’s most important for the patients’ sleeping during their hospital stay.
“I get to know the patient’s sleep, and I feel like my research is very important to patients,” Ye said. “That’s one big difference to clinical research-you feel like it’s very relevant to real life.”
Jean O’Neil, an associate professor emeritus within CSON, will receive the Excellence in Nursing Education award. Her research interests include patient responses and validation of nursing diagnoses. She received her bachelor of science and master of science degrees at Boston College, and her Ed.D. at Boston University.
O’Neil, who is a member of the adult health nursing department, taught students from the baccalaureate to the Ph.D. level before her retirement in 2002. She spent time studying ways to improve testing, which led to individual tutoring and workshops to prepare students for the nursing board exam. She is still active in associations for nursing professionals, like the Massachusetts Association for Registered Nurses, American Nursing Association, NANDA International, and Sigma Theta Tau International.
Between the years of 2002 and 2007, O’Neil presented the Jean A. O’Neil Nursing Achievement award to the graduating senior who went beyond expectations in persistence and conscientiousness.
Judith Shindul-Rothschild, an associate professor within CSON, will be honored with the Mary A. Manning Mentoring Award. She worked as a psychiatric nurse clinical specialist before she earned her Ph.D. in sociology at BC and started work as a professor in 1991.
She entered into the nursing profession as a way to provide for herself and her family. After she earned her bachelor of science at BC, she worked for a year as a psychiatric staff nurse at Lindemann Mental Health Center and then went on to get her master of science degree at Yale. She returned to school to earn her Ph.D. after several years of working as a psychiatric nurse clinical specialist.
“In the classroom, I get to really stimulate everybody’s thinking on a broader scale,” Shindul-Rothschild said.
In 1996, Shindul-Rothschild published a study in the American Journal of Nursing about nurses’ views on the health care situation. The study, which was the largest survey of nurses at the time, was called, “Where Have All the Nurses Gone?” She was featured on Good Morning America and quoted in USA Today and Time. She was able to make a big difference in terms of the nurse-to-patient ratio in California, she said. Shindul-Rothschild described it as a highlight of her nursing career and said it launched her research and scholarly careers.
The next year, she became the first woman elected by BC graduates to win the Golden Eagle Award. She was chosen for her work in helping the nursing profession gain autonomy and respect. During the 1980s, Shindul-Rothschild worked with the Massachusetts Nursing Association to take part in strikes and legislative activity to fight the Massachusetts Medical Society, which at the time did not allow nurses to go into advanced practice.
Now, Shindul-Rothschild teaches both undergraduate and graduate nursing courses. She also serves on the athletic advisory board, advises all of the nursing student-athletes, and helps them manage their schedules.
“I take a great deal of pride in making sure they have a successful undergraduate experience here,” she said.
Shindul-Rothschild tells the new graduates she advises that she expects them to be leaders in the profession of nursing. She was deeply honored by the nomination for the award, which came from one of her former mentees, she said.
“I think what is most appealing to me about teaching is, frankly, the energy from the students,” she said. “I’m proud of my scholarship in research, but the BC nursing students are exceptional.”