Wayne Nieh Researches Instrument to Involve Family Members in ICU Patient Care

Wayne Nieh

Wayne Nieh, a senior nursing student at the Kent State University Geauga Campus, is a student ambassador for undergraduate researchers and has participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program since 2021.


During the summer of 2021, Wayne conducted research on the project “A Review Study of Vitamin K, the Forgotten Vitamin” under mentorship of Dr. Daniela Popescu. This research focused on the health benefits, mechanisms, and actions of vitamin K, particularly vitamin K2 and K3, in the human body or in laboratory animals and cell culture. Wayne also had the privilege to present this research at West Virginia University this summer 2022 while he was working on his second SURE research project.


As he continued in his research, he moved from the scientific research involved with his vitamin K project to nursing research. In the SURE program for the summer of 2022, he worked on his nursing research under the mentorship of Dr. Amy Petrinec and her Ph.D. student Ms. Cindy Wilk testing a new instrument called the Family Willingness for Caregiving Scale (FWCS) which was designed by Ms. Wilk during the coursework phase of her Ph.D. program in nursing.


Wayne said, “Current literature shows that patient’s family members are under tremendous amounts of stress when their loved ones are in critical condition in the ICU, and one way to help them better cope with this situation is to involve them in patient care. This FWCS instrument is the first step in discovering what activities family members are willing to help with, after which, nursing interventions can be developed to help teach family members these caregiving skills.”  


Wayne has been working with Ms. Wilk to recruit eligible family members in Summa Health in Akron, Ohio. The recruitment involves a two-step consecutive sampling approach to first identify an eligible ICU patient and subsequently identify the eligible family members. Wayne and Ms. Wilk first communicate with the assigned nurse to ensure the time is appropriate to approach the family members. Upon the nurse’s approval, they will introduce themselves and the study to the family members. If they express interest and want to participate in the study, Wayne will explain and obtain informed consent. Afterward, the family members will complete two surveys as part of the FWCS instrument. The first survey asks for demographic information about the family member, the second survey asks the family member’s willingness to perform twenty-five caregiving tasks on a scale ranging from completely willing (5) to completely unwilling (1).


While describing the shift between research projects, he said, “There are three pillars in the nursing profession: nursing expertise in the clinical setting; evidence-based practice, which is nursing research; and the values and preferences of patients and family members. Nursing research is indeed very important in the nursing profession.” Through the 2022 SURE program, Wayne gained experience in and a sense of graduate-level and post-doctoral nursing research while still an undergraduate.


“This research project truly humbled me. It taught me to constantly learn and to improve my therapeutic communication skills,” said Wayne. “I have learned therapeutic communication strategies in my nursing lectures, and I can now practice and apply this within my research, which involves both verbal and nonverbal therapeutic communications with the nurses and family members.”


Wayne recently won second place in the 3 Minute Presentations for the SURE program in 2022. These presentations challenge the SURE participants to describe and highlight key points of their research project in three minutes or less. As he described his preparation for the presentation, he mentioned that “It helped me as a nursing student to apply time management, critical thinking and analysis skills, and effective communication skills, which are all relevant in the clinical practice.”


As a Student Ambassador, Wayne encourages all students to participate in research and learn more about how to participate. “Even if you are not sure if you like research or if you do not know how to get involved in research, reach out to the ambassadors, and come to one of the information sessions. Sit down with some of the ambassadors from the program to get exposure to research,” said Wayne Nieh.

Written by: Griffin Wold