Five recognized by AAOHN, Foundation

Heaton named Fellow, student, alumnae win awards, another student awarded scholarship at conference
By Laura Lesley

Five members of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing family have been recognized by American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) for their exceptional work and were recently honored at the 2017 AAOHN National Conference in New Orleans.

Associate Professor Karen Heaton, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAAN, FAAOHN, coordinator of the School’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Program, was inducted into the 2017 class of AAOHN Fellows. In the School she has oversight for all occupational health nursing curriculum offerings, clinical placements, and serves as the primary research mentor for PhD students focusing on occupational health nursing research. She also is the NIOSH-funded occupational health-nursing director at the UAB Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety. Heaton earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the UAB School of Nursing in 1981.

Alumnus, PhD student and Instructor Bryan P. Combs, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNL, ATC, received AAOHN’s 2016 Novice Golden Pen Award which recognizes an outstanding article published in Workplace Health & Safety Journal by a new author.

AAOHN Group PhotoCombs’ award-winning article, “Occupational Functionality: A Concept Analysis,” examines occupational functionality and what it means to be fully functional in a work setting. It is the first peer-reviewed article Combs has published. Heaton is the article’s second author. They found that occupational functionality is a balance between four domains: the individual person and their health; the environment they are working in; their psychological factors; and the work itself. The article defined how those four domains can work together to make someone functional for a particular job.

“It means a lot. Publishing was new for me, so to be given an award like this shows me that I am doing something that other people recognize as good work,” Combs said.

Combs was a certified athletic trainer for eight years prior to enrolling in the School’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP). He is currently an instructor in the Family Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track and teaches health assessment for all nurse practitioner students. Combs earned Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees from the UAB School of Nursing in 2010 and 2012.

Second-semester PhD student Jenni Wise received the 2017 UPS Foundation Academic Study Scholarship from the AAOHN Foundation. Wise is an AAOHN member and Fellow in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. With her research focusing on long-haul trucking and depression, Wise examines mindful interventions as a means of improving occupational safety, reducing depression, and enhancing sleep quality. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, BSN and MSN degrees from UAB in 2005, 2008, and 2015, respectively.

Okeefe Louise headshotDr. Louise O'KeefeAlumnus Louise C. O’Keefe, PhD, CRNP, Director of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Faculty and Staff Clinic and assistant professor in the UAH College of Nursing, received a Golden Pen Award in the Experienced Author category. Her article, “Obesity, Prediabetes, and Perceived Stress in Municipal Workers,” was published in Workplace Health & Safety Journal in October 2016.

She previously received the AAOHN Golden Pen Award in the Experienced Author category in 2015 for her article, “Policy Perspectives in Occupational Stress,” published in Workplace Health & Safety Journal in October 2014.

O’Keefe earned her PhD from the School in 2013.

Also honored by AAOHN was three-time alumna Pamela E. Carver, DNP, MA, ANP-BC. Her poster presentation “Blood Pressure Education and Self-monitoring at the Worksite” is research she completed while earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from the School. It won second place in the AAOHN poster exhibition.

Carver’s findings support the implementation of blood pressure self-monitoring stations in worksites. “I’ve been involved in worksite wellness for over 25 years,” she said. “I’ve witnessed the benefit of having clients self-monitor, as well as arming them with education regarding appropriate blood pressure control.”

Her study, which took place at a Birmingham-based manufacturing company, yielded significant outcomes in terms of participants having an increase in knowledge of heart health, improved blood pressure readings, and overall positive satisfaction with the program. “My hope is that these outcomes demonstrate that minimal employer investment in setting up a blood pressure station at the worksite can lead to better blood pressure control and outcomes for workers,” Carver said.

Carver earned her BSN, MSN, and DNP degrees from the UAB School of Nursing in 2009, 2010 and 2016, respectively.
Last modified on July 14, 2021

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