A visiting scholar report from University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA


First of all I would like to thank my supervisor prof. Anna Strömberg, Linköping University CAEthat gave me the opportunity to go on this inspiring trip across the Atlantic Ocean. I would also like to thank Sektionen för omvårdnadsinformatik for the award of 6000 SEK. Description of the visit I visited the RICH Heart Program at the College of Nursing during October 2014. I had the great opportunity to work with prof. Terry Lennie and colleagues. We co-worked with data about nutrition in heart failure. My ongoing doctoral project is about multifactorial aspects of appetite in heart failure and the work with nutrient data i.e. vitamins, minerals and energy intake has given me new perspective on nutrition in heart failure that will be of great importance for my future PhD work.

We have had interesting discussions on how to organize, analyze and interpret self-reported and objective data, and I have learned a lot about regression models, mediating and moderations. Although, the writing process is a critical part to learn and my mentor Terry Lennie gave me outstanding support. Prof Debra Moser and co-directors of RICH Heart coach the doctoral students with weekly meetings which provide the opportunities to discuss progression of studies, research grants and issues of more practical nature. This was of great value, I have experienced how a productive group of researchers collaborate and discuss research in different contexts.

I have attended doctoral seminars and was invited to present some of my PhD project. I had also the opportunity to participate in interesting lessons about nutrition which have given me a better understanding how importance it is to choose healthy diet in order to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutrition research is a hot topic for the public and it is crucial to communicate results to mass media in a clear way since diet has major impact on people’s lifestyles.

Results; During the visit, we collaborated with data from current PhD project and the RICH Heart project. Our work has resulted to two abstracts that are submitted to the Euro Heart Care Congress, Dubrovnik, 2015. One abstract is about mental health and the relationship with appetite, physical activity and health status. The second abstract is about nutrient deficiency and its predictive value on health in heart failure. We have begun to write two manuscripts. Part of the work during my stay will be included in the thesis, dissertation is planned for 2017.

Take home message; If you are planning to visit a research group, I think you may need to stay for a month or for a longer period. It take time to get access to the University facilities, getting to know co-workers and to understand new project and dataset. Provide a plan to achieve your goals. “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” (Norman Vincent Peale). For a fruitful collaborating, and developing new skills, be open and curious and take the opportunity to collaborate with data from the research group you are visiting. Try to combine research by discovering the town, and have fun with new friends! I feel privileged that I got the opportunity to work together with prof. Terry Lennie and his colleagues and I look forward to our continued collaboration. Many thanks!

Christina Andreae, RN, PhD student at Linköping University 2014-12-01