Nursing student to present research

Northwestern College nursing student Josh Roorda will present the results of his research with older adults at the 21st annual Nursing Research Symposium April 16 in Sioux Falls.

The symposium’s theme is “Living Nursing Scholarship: Research, Theory and Practice.” The keynote speaker is nurse Kerry Paige Nesseler, assistant surgeon general; chief nursing officer for U.S. Public Health Services; and director of the Office of Global Health Affairs, Health Resources and Services Administration.

Roorda is one of 14 symposium speakers. His presentation, “The Relationship Between Hope and Spirituality in Community-Based Older Adults,” examines the correlation between hopefulness and faith among older adults who—while experiencing the effects of aging—are still living at home.

Roorda’s research adds a new dimension to similar studies of the relationship between hope and spirituality among terminally ill patients and older adults receiving institutionalized care.

Roorda’s study of 46 older adults in Sioux County, Iowa, showed a significant correlation between levels of hopefulness and a faith commitment of some kind among the subjects surveyed.

He also tested links between hope and age; spouse survival; perceptions of health, including chronic illness; and perceptions of financial security. Roorda did not find statistically significant correlations between hope and age, marriage or perceptions of health. However, he does record support for his hypothesis that perceptions of financial security and levels of hope are inversely related; that is, older adults with greater feelings of financial security do, in fact, report lower levels of hope.

On his primary research question of the relationship between hope and spirituality, Roorda argues, “It is the nurse’s place to incorporate spiritual care into her or his practice so hope may be supported in a more relative and efficient manner.”

Roorda’s research supports a foundational premise of Northwestern College’s nursing program that nurses are called to continue Jesus’ healing ministry by promoting not just physical health, but individual and community shalom—or health, wholeness and peace.

Roorda, from Raymond, Minn., is a member of Northwestern’s second class of nurses who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (B.S.N.) in May. He has accepted a position in the neurology specialty care unit at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

Northwestern’s nursing department is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Iowa Board of Nursing.