Alaa Albashayreh, Ph.D. student, Nursing
Promotes palliative care
• Hometown: Irbid, Jordan
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Stephanie Gilbertson-White, Associate Professor, Nursing
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Ph.D. in Nursing, Spring 2022
• Please describe your research: I measure end of life care outcomes in patients with serious illnesses that carry a high risk of death, such as advanced stage cancer, using novel data science applications like text mining of natural language. My research seeks to identify and inform clinical practice with palliative care features that should be integrated into care of patients with advanced stage cancer.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Patients with serious illnesses often experience burdens that largely influence their quality of life and receive care they would not choose like high-intensity treatments that prolong life without necessarily curing the underlying medical condition. Palliative care helps with reducing serious illness burdens and enhancing the quality of life of patients and their families, yet, it is underutilized. My research has the potential to demonstrate how the use of palliative care models influences patient outcomes, intensity of end of life care, and healthcare utilization near the end of life, and therefore, promotes timely integration of palliative care.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began working in research during my first semester at the University of Iowa and have been involved in multiple research projects since then. In my second year in the program, my advisor, Dr. Gilbertson-White, connected me with colleagues at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics which then allowed me to do collaborative research.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Participating in research maximized my scholarship aptitudes and exposed me to novel approaches such as text mining and machine learning that help me in my scholarship endeavors. Moreover, I am grateful for the opportunities that allowed me to receive scholarship awards and collaborate with scholars to conduct research here in Iowa and in my home country of Jordan.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? Before joining the University of Iowa, I worked as a nurse in Jordan and taught nursing at universities in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. My goal after graduation is to seek a research and/or faculty position where I can teach and conduct research to contribute to the health of individuals and populations.
• Does your research have connections to or implications for COVID-19? Please explain. While my research does not have direct implications for COVID-19, it has the potential to promote the delivery of palliative care to those seriously ill who are affected by the novel coronavirus, which should allow managing their symptoms, ensuring comfort in dying, and supporting their families.
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