MSN student project raises awareness about baseline concussion testing

File Under: Hands On Learning

For Alexa Manos '24, Dawn Miller '22, and Renae (Rodocker) Snyder '98 '22, a passion for providing better health care for children and adolescents who have suffered sport-related concussions has led to and informed their research in their recent peer-reviewed publication.

“Understanding Baseline Concussion Testing: A Resource for School Nurses as Members of Concussion Management Teams” is currently published online by the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and will be included in an upcoming print issue as well.
“I worked as a school nurse for more than 20 years in the Canton Local district and I have four children, two of whom have suffered concussions,” said Snyder. “After my son’s first injury, I quickly learned that there is no mandate for baseline concussion testing even though it seemed clear to me that it would have been helpful as we tried to understand his recovery. I hadn’t given it much thought before he was injured, but this subject quickly became an interest of mine. Malone’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program gave us an opportunity to dig deeper and contribute to the body of knowledge in this field.”
Snyder, Miller, and Manos launched an evidence-based project to gauge school nurses’ awareness of baseline concussion testing (BCT) and provide resources to equip them to advocate for students with sports-related concussions. About one third of the school nurses they reached out to in Northeast Ohio viewed their presentation and completed the survey, and the team of Malone nursing students concluded not only that school nurses should be leaders on concussion management teams, but that BCT information would be a beneficial addition to school nurse orientation programs. Furthermore, continuing education opportunities for practicing school nurses would also provide significant benefit.  
“Each member of our team has varied interests in our topic; Alexa was a college athlete and Dawn also has children who play sports, so we all brought different perspectives to our research,” said Snyder. “The purpose of our project was to understand what other nurses already know about baseline testing and to encourage them to be more vocal in their role in the management of concussions among student athletes when they return to school because, ultimately, they will return to class before they slowly return to play.”
The team implemented their project during March and April 2021. Findings from their project regarding nurses’ experiences and obstacles faced with baseline concussion testing will be reflected in their poster presentation at the annual Student Research Symposium on April 23, 2022.
“By widely sharing their scholarly work, they are advancing the profession of nursing with new knowledge and providing superior resources for nurses working with young athletes as part of concussion management teams,” said Sheri Hartman, director of the MSN program. “It has been my pleasure to work with these women who have demonstrated the power of evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes, reflecting Malone’s mission to prepare students to serve the community, church, and world.”