The University of Iowa’s College of Nursing will have representatives at the 31st annual conference of the Midwest Nursing Research Society. The University of Nebraska Medical Center is hosting the conference in Omaha, where Doctor Bernice Yates, a professor of nursing at UNMC, says nursing research in general centers on what their patients can do to be healthier.

Nursing research, she says, is focused on trying to help people change unhealthy behaviors, and manage symptoms of a disease so they’ll be healthier and have a better quality of life. Yates says 900 people are expected to attend this conference, which centers on the latest in nursing research discoveries. "I don’t think lay people should try to interpret studies on their own," Yates says, "but I do think they should use studies as a springboard for discussion with their healthcare provider."

Nurses from thirteen states in the region will gather today through Monday at the Qwest Center and Hilton hotel in downtown Omaha. In addition to exhibits and a gala event, they’ll attend workshops and learn about studies on everything from genetics to end-of-life care. Susan Noble Walker is a professor at the UNMC College of Nursing and a nurse researcher. She says the conference is a chance for Midwest researchers to network with each other, to present research that hasn’t been published yet, and to provide mentoring for students.

Walker says they incorporate what they learn from research into the teaching of nursing, and practice. Through publishing it, they then convey the results to other nurses who then can practice it as well. As for general news reports on research, Walker says you should take it with a grain of salt.

She says not to believe it till you get more information. "If you hear something you think may relate to you, talk with your provider," Walker says, adding the doctor can tell you more about it and help decide whether it would be effective for you. The conference begins tomorrow and runs through Monday.