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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Nursing chair to lead cancer collaboration

    A recent hire in the College of Nursing will kick off a new partnership between the UA and a Scottsdale community health center, where she plans to conduct cancer research.

    Barbara F. Piper was chosen as the first UA chair of nursing research and will provide a link between academia and helping people in the community.

    Piper will spend most of her time working with cancer patients at Scottsdale Healthcare, a northeast valley nonprofit with several hospitals, outpatient centers and home health services.

    Piper will be the only College of Nursing faculty member to concentrate on cancer patients suffering from fatigue, which often has no identifiable causes and is not easily cured.

    “”It’s a wonderfully innovative and exciting position that enables me to continue my research with fatigue and cancer patients and to hopefully spark some new research and collaborative projects between Scottsdale Healthcare and the UA,”” Piper said.

    She will also work on the UA campus to assist UA nursing students.

    “”She was addressing a very significant clinical issue related to the experience of having cancer,”” said Marjorie Isenberg, dean of the College of Nursing. “”It’s a wonderful opportunity for our students to be mentored by someone with that expertise.””

    Piper has conducted several studies related to cancer nursing practices. She currently is co-investigating a five-year study to update and implement national guidelines on treating fatigue and pain in cancer patients.

    Fatigue in cancer patients is more serious and longer-lasting than in healthy people, Piper said.

    While rest and sleep might help relieve symptoms for many healthy people, it can worsen the ailment for cancer patients, who need a tailored cure that can include exercise, physical therapy and support groups. Almost all cancer patients in all stages suffer from some form of fatigue, Piper said.

    “”It’s definitely the most common symptom that all cancer patients experience,”” she said.

    Scottsdale Healthcare officials initiated talks about the collaboration because a considerable effort goes into finding a cure, but there is not much research on improving care for patients who are already diagnosed, said Susan Brown, associate vice president for oncology services for Scottsdale Healthcare.

    “”From our perspective, we consider the collaboration for the nurse researcher critical,”” Brown said. “”Dr. Piper will develop our research program in the area of symptom management, and she brings expertise to all the rest of my nursing staff.””

    UA officials were enthusiastic about the idea because there has never been a partnership with a community health center where students can do research and gather experience, Isenberg said.

    “”It certainly pays off for us,”” she said. “”We, in essence, are developing the science and then, in connection with the health care system, can translate that into patient care.””

    Before accepting her current position, Piper was an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. She has also held positions at the University of California, the San Jose State University and the College of Marin in California.

    Piper has a doctoral degree and a master’s of science degree in nursing from the University of California at San Francisco. She also has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Syracuse University.

    Piper is employed by the College of Nursing, but her salary and benefits are paid for by Scottsdale Healthcare.

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