By Curt Yeomans
The topic of Clayton State University nursing student Dipti Khanna's group research project -- breast milk storage -- turned out to be a timely subject for the senior from Jonesboro, since she is due to give birth to her first child at the beginning of next week.
Thirty-five CSU nursing students, including Khanna, wrapped up a semester of medical research for their nursing research class Monday by presenting their findings to their classmates. As a result of their research, the students came to a variety of conclusions, such as learning how to store breast milk prolongs the breast feeding process by six hours.
"It was pretty pertinent to me, since I am about to have a child myself," Khanna said. "I knew you could store breast milk, but I didn't know how to do it."
The class was broken up into nine groups, and began researching topics in January, explained Clayton State Nursing Associate Professor Kathi Cannella, the instructor for the research class.
The research topics included: the effectiveness of hand sanitizers; the importance of self-examinations for breast cancer; how mattresses affect pressure ulcers; and the best way to conduct grief counseling for parents who lost a child during the perinatal stage, which is the period around the time of birth.
"We're teaching them the importance of basing practice on research findings," Cannella said. "Over the last three to four years, we've increased the amount of time spent focusing on evidence-based practice."
Chris Nguyen, a senior from Lilburn who worked on the breast-feeding project with Dipti, said the group's research determined that a mother can increase the breast feeding period by up to six months by taking an "intervention" class on how to store breast milk. Another member of the group, Kathy Tucker, said the milk can be preserved for 24 hours in a refrigerator, but six months in a freezer.
Another group, made up of Alma Fumbah, Kimberly Jordan and Ralph Flannigan, examined the effectiveness of hand sanitizers versus washing hands with regular soap and water.
They found several studies, through the medical databases Medline Plus and CINATTL Plus, which said 65 percent of people who wash their hands with soap and water do so for less than a recommended period of 30 seconds, Fumbah said.
Fumbah also said the studies showed that hand sanitizers had a 95 percent competency interval, which means they are 95 percent effective.
"We were trying to decide which one was more effective - hand sanitizers, or hand washing," Fumbah said. "We were surprised because we were expecting hand washing to be more effective."
During the presentation of the research projects, Cannella and the students walked around and evaluated their classmates on overall appearance, content and presentation.
All of the students in the research class are expected to graduate in December, Cannella said.
"This is what our semester has come down to," said Joe Provost, a senior from McDonough. "It's the culmination of all of our research."