Abigail Moon

College: College of Health & Human Science
Major: Nursing BSN

In May of 2019, I will participate in “Investigating Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues” in Florence, Italy, a seven-week study abroad focused on developing research skills. These research skills will include finding quality research articles and executing research myself. I will be conducting qualitative research by interviewing participants on their personal experiences with sexual and reproductive healthcare. The program is administered by Purdue and is located at Florence University of the Arts where I will earn a total of nine credit hours toward my minor of Human Development and Family Studies. The three courses will be “Directed Research in Women's Reproductive and Sexual Health”, “Cultural Introduction to Italy Field Experience, and “Food, Wine, and Culture in Italy”. Course work will include homework, exams, field experience, and interviews. The interviews are with individuals who live in Florence and I will ask them about their experience with sexual and reproductive healthcare. This interview process is part of our “Directed Research in Women’s Reproductive and Sexual Health” course. The program is led by Dr. Andrea DeMaria, a graduate professor for Purdue University and researcher for women’s sexual and reproductive issues. There will be four groups of four students who interview eight people each, and the students collect qualitative data from the interviewees for our research. Altogether, we will have interviewed 32 participants, and the study abroad students will write a research paper over our findings after we collaborate. The research could be published to the Purdue Library Databases if the results are statistically significant. I believe the research I conduct while studying abroad will teach me skills on how to connect and empathize with people. This deeper knowledge about a subject translates into more trust from your patient to relate and to take care of them.

When selecting a program of study, I sought a program related to my future career that would contribute to my personal and professional growth as a nurse. Italy has a very diverse and interesting history regarding women’s sexual health, including some of the lowest birth rates and STD rates in all of Western Europe. I am intrigued by this and want to dive into the research to assess why and how the rates are so low. I believe what I learn through this research will enhance my education experience and increase knowledge for my career as a nurse because when a nurse is more knowledgeable about a subject, it builds a more trusting relationship between the patient and nurse. Through my research, I will dive into interviewees experiences regarding sexual and reproductive health and take that into consideration when creating a plan of care that will fit best each individual patient.

After college, I would like to start my career as a traveling nurse. A traveling nurse is part of an agency that sends nurses to a different location in the country, and the nurse will stay there for around three to six months at a time until they get relocated. My goal is to travel around the United States to improve healthcare systems by being a part of quality improvement teams. Quality improvement teams use evidence-based research to implement practice that leads to more efficient healthcare.  There can be quality improvement teams for any of the specialty areas in the hospital. Typically, when becoming a traveling nurse there are three main specialty areas the agencies are looking for: Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Care, and Obstetrics. The area I would like to specialize in would be Obstetrics, which is caring for the mother and baby after giving birth. If I become an Obstetrics nurse, I must have a deep understanding of women’s health and how to incorporate that into my care plan for my patients. While conducting research in Italy, I will be learning directly from interviewees what their health care experiences, specifically sexual and reproductive health, have been like and how that affected their future health care decisions. During our research course, we will learn how to professionally converse with our participants, which will help me in the future when I must have sensitive/difficult conversations with my patients. Learning and understanding our research can help implement ideas and options to my future patients and their families. This study abroad will assist me in developing research skills that can help with joining a quality improvement team, and I will also conduct research that will give me more information on how to give better care to my patients.

Although this is an incredible study abroad opportunity, there were many challenges that made me hesitate to even apply. Though I have a busy schedule and tight budget, I was not going to let that stop me from studying abroad and conducting this research internationally over the summer.

This study abroad will offer me new insights and research experiences that will contribute to my development as a nurse. I will also gain a deeper insight into women’s sexual and reproductive health. The information I will be learning about women’s sexual and reproductive health will be vital information to learn and employ in the workforce with the patients I will be directly caring for on a daily basis. I hope to develop a deeper understanding of the Italian culture through my study abroad experience, and I want to be able to incorporate that information with how I interact with patients and have more empathy for cultural differences. This study abroad will holistically change my life and the lives of my future patients.

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