M.S.N. Graduate Study Integrates Faith and Research

by Nathan Pilling, Public Relations Writer

The thesis work of recent graduate and current Cedarville faculty member Lindsay Tucholski is an example of the unique blending of faith and academic research that has become the norm in Cedarville graduate programs. A graduate of the inaugural 10-person Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) class, Tucholski recently conducted research looking at the differences in attitudes of leadership and social justice before and after a service learning experience.

By combining elements of her faith with her nursing work, her research fits in with a significant emphasis of the school of nursing: using nursing as a vehicle for ministry. In this case, Tucholski is working to show how serving others can change hearts and minds.

To carry this out, Tucholski distributed a two-part study designed at the University of Detroit Mercy to students in a Cedarville nursing class. She met with students at the beginning of the semester and had them take a pretest that contained questions about leadership and social justice attitudes. After the students completed a minimum of 60 hours of service learning experience, she followed up with them and had them rank the same attributes in a posttest.

“The experiences ranged from working with the homeless population, to pregnant women, the elderly and school children,” she said. By collecting information about the area in which the students worked, Tucholski was able to determine which areas created the biggest changes in attitudes among the students.

Her work yielded some interesting findings. “My research revealed that the biggest changes were seen in those who worked with school children, specifically those working with public school children,” she said. “Those students had more of an increase in social justice attitudes and those working with private school children had more of an increase in leadership attitudes.”

While her required work is done, Tucholski said she hopes to continue the study for a few years to collect additional data to acquire further information about service learning. She also plans to continue writing about her work. “The current plan is to publish some articles about the concept of service learning and also its use in the nursing curriculum,” she said.

This type of work is not unique to Tucholski. All throughout Cedarville’s school of nursing, an emphasis is placed on this type of work. “Lindsay’s work is an excellent example of how elements of the Christian faith can be integrated into a research project,” said Chu-Yu Huang, Ph.D., assistant dean of the school of nursing and director of graduate nursing programs at Cedarville. “The school of nursing is absolutely committed to preparing our students to be voices of influence throughout the profession through these types of projects.”

Tucholski was recently hired as an assistant professor of nursing at Cedarville. Her research work as a student was also critical to her success as a professional. “Going through this experience really helped me to learn the research process so that I can have confidence in doing it both in the future and now in my new role as assistant professor of nursing.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at www.cedarville.edu.