Nursing students receive IU Bloomington Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research and Creativity

Established by Indiana University Bloomington (IUB), the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research and Creativity recognizes outstanding student achievement in research and creative activity, and shines a light on the importance of such experiences for undergraduates. Award recipients are recognized each spring at the Honors Convocation where they receive a $500 certificate. This year Indiana University School of Nursing (IUSON) students Rachel Cooper and Neil Craney were recognized for their study entitled “Operating Room Personnel’s Perceptions of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.” Rachel and Neil were two of only six students chosen from the entire campus for this year’s Provost’s Award.

Cooper and Craney presented their project at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Washington, in April, and will be presenting again at the Sigma Theta Tau Biennial Conference in the fall. “Neil and I are aspiring to be Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). In Indiana CRNAs are as not well-accepted as they are in other states, and the legislature has laws that limit their scope of practice. Our study targeted those who are currently working with CRNAs to determine if their views differed,” said Cooper.

In addition, the study explored patterns of perceptions among nurses, opera ting room technicians, and physicians who worked with CRNAs at four different institutions. The goal was to discover facilitators and barriers to productive practices within the operating room. Cooper and Craney discovered three distinct patterns of perception among CRNAs: highly supportive, seeing the necessity for supervision, and preferring an anesthesiologist.

Rachel and Neil both graduated in May with their bachelor of science in nursing degree. They now are both employed at IU Health Bloomington Hospital in the critical care unit.

A Griffith, Indiana, native Rachel spent the past two summers in an operating room in East Chicago where she was inspired to become a nurse anesthetist and developed the interest that led to the study. “I was thrilled to hear we had been chosen as the Provost’s Award recipients. On such a prestigious campus like IUB with so many gifted students, it was exciting to see that all of the hard work we put in throughout the years was recognized,” said Cooper.

Neil currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana. He worked for IU Health Bloomington Hospital as a patient care tech prior to graduation.

Dr. Desiree Hensel served as faculty mentor to both Rachel and Nick throughout their study. “It was a joy to watch how they explored the research methodologies, created all the study materials, and disseminated their work. I take special pride knowing that I have played a role in Rachel and Neil’s professional journey,” said Hensel.