University of Toronto PhD candidate Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy has been named a recipient
of CAUT’s J.H. Stewart Reid Memorial Fellowship.
The nursing student was recognized in July with the 2011–2012 fellowship as part
of CAUT’s annual awards program. The fellowship is intended to recognize and reward
outstanding doctoral students from among all Canadian universities, and provides
$5,000 in funding.
O'Keefe-McCarthy, who holds a nursing diploma from George Brown College, a bachelor
of science in nursing degree from Ryerson University and a master's degree in nursing
from the University of Toronto, focuses her dissertation research on pain management,
pain, and anxiety for acute coronary syndrome patients awaiting transfer for urgent
diagnostic cardiac catheterization.
ACS refers to the clinical symptoms of severe chest pain and/or impending heart
attack due to heart disease. ACS is a leading cause of death and disability in Canada
and as O'Keefe-McCarthy notes, "a painful and frightening condition. If not
adequately managed, the pain and anxiety caused by ACS can escalate the disease
process and increase heart damage."
Evidence indicates that chest pain is routinely under-medicated and her work will
provide much needed information to develop pain evaluation frameworks and management
standards for people who suffer with cardiac disease. "This study has major implications
for cardiac pain research, impacting front line nurses' pain and anxiety assessment
and management practices, decreasing mortality and reducing the health service burden,"
She has published four scientific articles, a book chapter and a requested publication,
presented at numerous international and national scientific meetings, served on
the Canadian Pain Society executive board of directors, and received many awards,
including three Ontario Graduate Scholarships and a fellowship from the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research, for her academic achievements. Her vision is to be
a career researcher in the field of cardiac pain.
Recipients of the Stewart Reid Fellowship, a one-year grant given by CAUT to commemorate
the life and work of the association's first executive secretary, are determined
by a national selection committee, which this year included University of Manitoba
botany professor and former president of CAUT Tom Booth, Chris Ferns, professor
of English at Mount Saint Vincent University, and retired Bishop's University sociology
professor and former president of CAUT Loretta Czernis.