Breast Cancer Screening for all Ages

Associate Professor Jenenne Nelson, Beth El College of Nursing and Health Science

Professor Jenenne Nelson has been interested in psychosocial issues related to breast cancer survivorship over the past 20 years. Her initial interests in breast cancer focused on health promotion behaviors after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, living with the uncertainty of the breast cancer after treatment and most recently to palliative care needs and symptom management in end-of-life. As a researcher, Jenenne has focused her work under the umbrella of living with psychosocial issues of chronic disease, allowing her flexibility in developing research interests with a number of populations.

(Promotional piece for The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation).As a clinical nurse specialist, Jenenne's research and her practice intertwine in the individual adult's illness trajectory. Her interest in breast cancer education and screening/detection is one area that Jenenne been involved in both as a researcher and teacher since it allows students to be involved with research and practice. An example of this research was the development of an innovative breast cancer program that Jenenne and her colleagues developed in the Colorado Springs community. The program, "Breast Health & Cancer Screening: A Program to Educate and Screen Girl Scouts and Female Family Members and Friends", focused on breast cancer education and screening in Girl Scouts and their mothers. This program was funded by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and it has been nationally recognized as a model program by the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Girl Scouts of America. In fact, the Wagon Wheel Council developed a special breast health patch that is awarded to each Girl Scout who completed the educational program.

Another research area that Jenenne recently developed is in end-of-life care. End-of-life care in the United States has received much attention in the past decade; therefore, end-of-life research has been designated as a research priority by numerous federal and private funding agencies. Jenenne's interest in this area is combined in one recent study exploring well-being and the use of complementary therapies. The results of this study were presented in Australia and have been submitted for publication. Additionally, a new grant in end-of-life and trauma assessment using Bandura's Self Efficacy Theory was recently submitted by Jenenne with Drs. Chip Benight (Psychology) and Terry Bolt (Computer Science). This grant will focus on the development of a web-based platform to assist individuals with end-of-life planning using Expert Systems.

Finally, Jenenne and a team of researchers that included Dr. Kathleen LaSala of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Dr. Linda Pedersen (Drexel University), and Major Leticia Sandrock (Fort Carson) received funding for an ethnographic study of tobacco cessation in the Army culture from the TriNursing Service Research Program. The study aims are: 1) Describe patterns, practices, and experiences of active duty Army personnel who use tobacco, 2) Examine patterns, practices, and experiences of active duty Army personnel who have quit using tobacco, and 3) Illuminate patterns, practices, and experiences of active duty Army personnel who return to tobacco after a period of tobacco abstention. This study will begin in early August 2004.

Jenenne has been an active researcher and methodologist locally, nationally, and internationally throughout her academic career. Her love of research is evident in her involvement in her own and others' research.