University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing student Aoyjai Prapanjaroensin, has been named the recipient of this year’s Kathleen C. Brown Scholarship for Emerging Leadership in Occupational Health Nursing by the Central Alabama Association of Occupational Health Nurses.
The $500 scholarship provided financial support for Prapanjaroensin to represent the Birmingham-area CAAOHN chapter at the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses 2016 National Conference.
At the conference, Prapanjaroensin — a native of Thailand — made two poster presentations and participated in a panel discussion related to her research on the relationship between nursing burnout and patient safety. The posters she presented were “Burnout in the nursing profession: Concept Analysis” and “Comparison of vigilance between night- and day-shift nurses.” The panel discussion, “Partnerships to promote research and best practice in occupational health nursing,” focused on shift-working nurses and the effects of circadian misalignment.
In Thailand, Prapanjaroensin, who is now mentored by UAB School of Nursing Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professor Patricia A. Patrician, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, implemented a healthy worker program that evaluated the body mass index of an entire nursing staff and noted that nurses are often so focused on providing care to others they forget to take care of themselves.
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This fueled Prapanjaroensin’s passion to further research health promotion in nursing and the potential risk to patients when nurses neglect their own health. Working closely with Patrician and Karen Gamble, Ph.D., a chronobiologist and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology in the UAB School of Medicine who specializes in circadian misalignment, Prapanjaroensin is seeking solutions to a problem she and many other nurses know all too well.
“Nurses take care of others, but many times they do not take care of themselves at all,” Prapanjaroensin said. “I feel like we have to improve the quality of our own health to improve the quality of patient care. That is why the Kathleen C. Brown Scholarship and the work I am getting to do here at the UAB School of Nursing are so important to me.”
Prapanjaroensin says she is honored to receive the scholarship named for Brown, a renowned occupational health nurse researcher and former UAB School of Nursing faculty member, who influenced her to pursue her current path of study.
“She is my role model to be an occupational health researcher,” Prapanjaroensin said. “Her works have influenced many and inspired me to follow in her footsteps to improve quality of life for all workers, especially nurses.”