CPH-NEW recently awarded the following pilot grants: 

Reducing stress among correctional nurses through focus groups 

Principal Investigator: Denise Panosky, DNP, RN, CNE, CCHP, FCNS, University of Connecticut Health Center, School of Nursing 

Denise Panosky will conduct focus groups with nurses at three correctional facilities to evaluate if stress levels are reduced when they share job concerns and administrators respond. Correctional nurses administer care to inmate patients who do not always cooperate and may be under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Conflicts may arise between correctional nurses, inmates and those who maintain custody. These conflicts can negatively affect patient care, increase stress levels of the nurses and may, in the long run, affect job performance and satisfaction levels. In a previous study, participating nurses stated that having someone listen and take their ideas seriously showed interest and concern. This led to greater motivation among the nurses and a change in attitudes. This study will use the Harris Nurse Stress Index to measure stress prior to focus group participation and, again, 30 days later. 

Developing recommendations for correctional officers in the Connecticut Department of Correction on how to manage older inmates 

Principal Investigator: Lisa C. Barry, PhD, MPH, University of Connecticut Health Center, Center on Aging 

Lisa Barry will develop recommendations for the Connecticut Department of Correction (CTDOC) that will help correctional officers better manage the growing number of older inmates who face chronic illnesses, functional impairments, untreated psychiatric disorders and suicide. She will accomplish this by conducting focus groups with correctional officers employed full-time at three CT correctional facilities. Findings from this research study will guide the development of a continuing education module for CTDOC that will help officers minimize occupational stress. 

Testing the feasibility of an online participatory program for workplace health protection and promotion 

Principal Investigator: Zandra Zweber, Doctoral Candidate in, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs

Zandra Zweber will test the feasibility and short-term impact of using interactive blogs and social media as a substitute for in-person team meetings. The ease of access of the online-participatory program for health interventions will allow all employees to more easily contribute to intervention planning and health promotion and protection discussions. This may prove to be an advantage over having a smaller group of representative employees and only meeting at designated times on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. If this online participatory program proves to be feasible and successful, organizations could use this strategy to more easily implement, or complement, participatory programs that are known to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction, enhance performance and employee health and reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders.