Texas State University Master’s Student Receives Grant For Respiratory Care Research

By, Jessica Knight | Texas State University – Student Achievements

Jessica Overgoner, a master’s student in respiratory care, is the recipient of the 2019 Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care research grant (CoARC). She will work on a clinical study that she designed with Dr. Arzu Ari, a professor in the Department of Respiratory Care.

The study compares how the length of patient stay is affected by implementing a High Flow Nasal Cannula Titration Protocol instead of following the old standard of care at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

The nasal cannula delivers oxygen through a tube into the nose. The protocol provides guidelines for nurses or therapists to adjust dosage through the cannula rather than the old standard where a physician’s written instructions were required. Waiting for a physician’s directive could possibly delay therapy.

“The information will offer insight to our medical community that uses the high flow nasal cannula to treat pediatric patients in respiratory distress,” Overgoner said. “The pediatric population requires specialized care and it is important to have evidence to support the care given to this vulnerable group.”

The goal is to increase best practices in the medical community by integrating clinical experience with research, Overgoner said.

She advises future researchers to never give up, quoting Thomas A. Edison: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

When she initially chose her research topic, she felt discouraged because the topic had to change from her original vision.

“I quickly realized that change and adaptation are a normal part of the research process,” Overgoner said. “I did not give up and now I find myself excited to complete the project and see how we are able to contribute by sharing the evidence with our medical community.”

She also recommends finding a mentor that is an expert in the field of research. Dr. Ari encouraged Overgoner’s research design and urged her to present the topic to CoARC. She will officially receive the award in July at the CoARC National Award ceremony at the American Association of Respiratory Care Summer Forum in Florida.

As a full-time graduate student, a part-time employee at Dell Children’s Hospital and a mom of three, Overgoner says, this grant will ease related financial stress. She will graduate this December.

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