A four-year journey of hard work and dedication has finally ended for recent Florida Southern College nursing graduate Molly Cole. This January, her research study titled “Parental experiences related to pediatric and adolescent chronic non-cancer pain: a qualitative exploration” was published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.
The study collected 228 surveys with 243 participants who responded to open-ended survey questions. Overall, the study finds that parents can experience changes in their own lives when they have a child who experiences chronic non-cancer pain. The study highlights an entire population of parents who might need extra attention while they raise children with chronic non-cancer pain. This type of pain is characterized by severe pain that lasts for long periods of time and is caused by non-cancer-related conditions.
Cole began her study in undergrad after she had her own experience watching her loved ones experience chronic pain. She started the study as a part of her thesis for FSC’s Honors Program.
“I was lucky enough to have found Dr. Judy Risko as an advisor who was also as interested in the topic as I was,” Cole said.“She assisted me in connecting with Dr. Will Frye, a pediatric pain psychologist at Johns Hopkins who then helped form the basis of this study.”
The study opens with data stating, “Pediatric and adolescent chronic non-cancer pain (PCNCP) is a global problem that is estimated to impact between 11% to 38% of the pediatric population around the world.” The study cites both Ann Blanton Edwards School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the psychology department at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital as contributors.
“Dr. Frye was generous enough to allow us to use data from his original study to conduct our additional research and having him as an expert in the field really assisted in providing a foundation for the study, as well as corroborating our findings,” Cole said.
Cole shared how her time at FSC and in the honors program helped her gain the knowledge and experience she needed to complete the study.
“Each and every class I took gave me in some way- little tips and tricks that eventually helped me network, conduct research, write a manuscript, present my research and even publish,” Cole said. “At the time going through some of my classes I thought that there was no way some of the topics and content would ever help me, but now looking back I can see the small and large ways each class benefited me.”
Through conducting research and finally completing the study, Cole was able to grow not just academically, but personally.
“My biggest takeaway after completing this study is the importance of pushing yourself outside your comfort zone to accomplish things you are interested and passionate about,” Cole said. She shared how completing the study became a reminder to her that she can achieve more than she anticipates.
Cole is currently a Registered Nurse in an ICU step-down unit in Tampa. As for the future, she would love to go to grad school. She hopes for an opportunity to expand upon her study or see what other topics she could perform research on.