Post Doc Highlight


Getting to know Post-Docs J. Nicholas Dionne-Odom, MA, MSN, RN

Nick Odom is currently involved in several funded research studies. He is a nurse research interventionist for a National Palliative Care Research Center exploratory grant, a 2 year, 2-site (UAB/Birmingham, AL & Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Hanover, NH) single arm pilot study of the ENABLE CHF PC (Educate Nurture Advise Before Life Ends Comprehensive Heartcare for Patients and Caregivers) intervention with 50 HF patient/caregiver dyads. He is also a core team nurse coach consultant for an American Cancer Society implementation science grant that uses Glasgow’s Evidence Integration Triangle (EIT) to bring an evidence-based palliative care model (ENABLE) to four high-risk ethnically diverse rural communities: Birmingham, AL, Grand Rapids, MI, Spartanburg, SC, and Bangor, ME. Finally, Odom will be completing his own dissertation research funded by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and Sigma Theta Tau where, using a qualitative case study design augmented with a cognitive task analysis interviewing and data analysis approach, the aim is to describe, and develop a theoretical model of the psychological processes of surrogate decision-making for incapacitated adults at end of life in the intensive care unit. 

Tell me a little bit about your background

For over 10 years, I worked as a critical care nurse in intensive care units at several academic medical centers including New York University, Emory, and Dartmouth where I cared for critically ill and dying patients and their families. In 2006, I graduated with a M.A. in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University where I completed a Masters thesis entitled "Essaying Towards Right Conscience in Health Caring". In 2010, I graduated with my Masters of Science in Nursing where I completed a clinical nurse specialist track concentrating in clinical ethics. In Fall of 2013, I anticipate graduating with my PhD in Nurisng after defending my dissertation entitled "A Theoretical Model of the Psychological Processes of Surrogate Decision-Making at Adult End-of-Life in the Intensive Care Unit: A Case Study Design Using Cognitive Task Analysis." In January of 2014, I will begin a post doc at UAB in the Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program.

Why did you choose to pursue a PhD in Nursing and do a post-doc?

I pursued a PhD because I thrive on the day in and day out intellectual challenge and grind of the academic world. Moreover I firmly believe that systematically and scientifically investigating phenomena related to health and illness does result in knowledge that can positively impact our world. I pursued a post doc because I quickly learned that to be a successful researcher, one needs protected time, experience, and mentorship.

What is your research focus and who is your mentor?

My research focus is the psychology of decision-making, particularly naturalistic decision making, in the context of life threatening and life changing illness with the aim of developing instruments and psychosocial decision support interventions that promote positive outcomes in decision quality, life satisfaction and quality of life for patients and caregivers. Dr. Marie Bakitas, DNSc, NP-C, FAAN is my primary research mentor and Dr. Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN is my secondary research mentor.

What advice would you give to a PhD Nursing student who is interested in pursuing a Post-Doc?

Most new nursing PhD graduates won’t have enough training, publications, and research experience to forge an independent program of research in the current highly competitive grant funding climate. A post doc will give you a protected, though temporary period of mentorship and scholarly training necessary for acquiring the skills and experience needed to pursue a successful research career track.