December 19, 2014  

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Southern Miss Nursing Student Presents Research Project at National Conference

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Nicki Elizabeth Relan, a University of Southern Mississippi senior nursing major, is following a career path she set in motion many years ago as a kindergarten student in Diamondhead, Miss.

That path has now taken her to The Southern Nursing Research Society’s annual conference in Little Rock, Ark., where Relan delivered a presentation on her Alzheimer’s Disease research project.

“When looking back at old class assignments, I stumbled upon a kindergarten assignment that asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response – a nurse,” said Relan. “So I have clearly known since a young age that my dream career would be in the nursing field.”

Relan became one of the few fourth-year nursing students selected to present at SNRS conference. Most presenters are doctoral candidates. Her project is titled, “Effectiveness of Using Individualizing Interventions Informed By the Hierarchic Dementia Scale to Reduce Aggressive Behavior in People with Alzheimer’s Disease.”

“This scale has been used in Canada, as well as Australia with Alzheimer’s patients and has produced positive results,” said Relan, who is on scheduled to graduate in May. “With positive results elsewhere, I wanted to determine if it might work in the U.S. with patients in long-term care facilities.”

Relan, a fourth-year nursing student, has distinguished herself as a Leadership Scholar, member of the Honors College and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and a former member of the Southern Misses dance team.

Describing herself as “excited and nervous,” Relan had never presented or attended a national conference before the SNRS gathering on Feb. 26-March 2.

“I was excited to be accepted to present my undergraduate research at a national conference that typically only accepted doctorally prepared researchers,” she said. “I was also nervous about how the conference attendees would respond to my research. However, I was welcomed with open arms and provided with extremely positive feedback to build on.”