School of Nursing professor completes doctoral degree
Eva G. Miller, DNSc, RN (left), associate professor, School of Nursing, poses for a picture with her daughter Ivanna Guthrie Heater, PhD, department of psychology, School of Science and Technology. Dr. Heater accompanied Dr. Miller to the defense of her dissertation and took notes for her.
After successfully defending her dissertation, Eva G. Miller, DNSc, RN, associate professor, School of Nursing, can now be counted among the expanding number of faculty members in the School of Nursing with a doctoral level degree.
With the addition of Dr. Miller, the total number of faculty members in the School is now 25.
Dr. Miller defended her dissertation, titled “Clients’ expectations of public health nurses’ home visits” on March 29, 2006, at the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, University of San Diego.
Dr. Miller became interested in her research topic when she read in The Scope and Standards of Practice for Public Health Nurse Practice (Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Practice Organizations, 1999) that a review of the needs, strengths, and expectations of clients is integral to the assessment process.
In her 15 years of practice in public health nursing, Dr. Miller had never elicited clients’ expectations when assessing the family’s strengths and needs.
“Although studies are available on patients’ expectations and satisfaction with nursing care in hospitals, less is known about clients’ perceptions on public health nurses’ care in the home,” says Dr. Miller.
The aim of Dr. Miller’s study was to understand clients’ expectations of public health nurses’ home visits as a first step in making explicit how expectations affect client responses to, and ultimately, outcomes of public health nurses’ care. Interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 19 primary caretakers of high-risk infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and voluntarily enrolled in a high-risk infant (HRI) program in Southern California. All but one of the participants were the mothers of the high-risk infants.
The findings of Dr. Miller’s study elucidated a process of forming expectations, which consisted of two stages—expectation formation and expectation reformation. Contrary to psychological theories of expectations, participants had not formed expectations of public health nurses’ home visits. Most had no knowledge of public health nurses’ work or their infant’s referral to the program. However, with prompts from the researcher, participants used guesswork to predict what the nurse might do or say, or to state their ideal expectations. The interaction with the public health nurse was a pivotal influence in confirming positive expectations and disconfirming negative expectations.
Participants were surprised when the nurse addressed other health care issues of the family.
Faculty and staff of the School made congratulatory signs, and sent balloons, flowers, and chocolates to Dr. Miller in congratulations on her recent achievement.
“The support I have received along the way has been sustaining and renewing,” adds Dr. Miller. “I appreciate everyone in the School!”
Dr. Miller has been teaching at the School of Nursing since January of 1975.
By Dustin R. Jones, MA