by Sheryl Marlar

Katie Boalch didn’t intend to come to the University of West Georgia. Instead, the Bremen native planned to go somewhere else–somewhere further away from home.

Photo of University of West Georgia Tanner Health System School of Nursing student Katie Boalch at the International Sigma Theta Tau 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.“Initially, I was not going to UWG,” Boalch said. “I live 20 minutes away. I wanted to be further away.”

Boalch applied to a private school in Alabama, but she did not receive a scholarship.

“So I applied at UWG and actually got a presidential scholarship, which I happily accepted,” Boalch added. “I knew I wanted to be a nurse, and UWG’s Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) is well known as being very successful.”

As a senior nursing student, Boalch was chosen to present her research at the International Sigma Theta Tau 44th Biennial Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. as part of the Rising Stars of Research and Scholarship Program.

Boalch’s research is titled Faculty Caring: Nursing Students’ Perspective Using Q-Methodology.

“Q-methodology is a new research method,” Boalch explained. “There are two types of research–qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative takes what people say and quantitative takes numbers. Q-methodology takes both–it gathers and combines information and puts it in an organizational pattern, ranking statements as most agreed to least agreed.”

THSSON has a caring curriculum–a curriculum that involves caring interactions and education between faculty and students, students and students, and students and patients.

“We believe that incorporating caring into our practice benefits the patients we will have as registered nurses when we graduate,” Boalch continued. “It is part of holistic care–treating the whole person rather than just the physical health.”

Boalch wants to use Q-Methodology to confirm what is considered as caring is understood and similar between students and faculty.

“What faculty considers as caring may be different from what students consider as caring,” Boalch concluded. “We want our ideas to be similar so we can put a cohesive caring curriculum in place.”

Boalch is very happy with her decision to come to UWG.

“I’ve had more opportunities here, and as a result, I’ve been involved in organizations here,” Boalch reflected. “I’ve had the opportunity to study abroad and to do research. At another school, I’d be in a sea of other people.”

Posted on December 5, 2017