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Sheri Carson, a University of Arizona College of Nursing clinical instructor, was named Arizona Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Year last month by the Arizona National Association of Nurse Practitioners for her work in the area of children’s health advocacy.

Carson was nominated for the award by Mary O’Connell, senior lecturer in the College or Nursing, for her research aimed at accurately identifying early signs of child abuse by improving the screening process in hospital emergency departments.

According to Tucson.com, studies show that US healthcare providers miss 11 percent to 64 percent of cases in emergency departments. If the abuse isn’t caught early, 30 to 50 percent of those children are at risk for subsequent abuse and up to 30 percent of those children will die from abuse-related injuries. To improve those statistics, Carson developed an evidence-based screening program and tested it at a local hospital.

Carson tells Tucson.com, “I developed it to take healthcare providers from the point when the child arrives in the emergency department and walk them through what to do at each step depending on the outcome of the screening results.”

She found that her methods produced an improvement in knowledge and awareness in recognizing signs, symptoms, and risk factors of abuse. Carson hopes that the award will bring attention to her program so it can be rolled out statewide, especially in hospitals that don’t specialize in child care, but ultimately, she wants nationwide improvement in screening.

To learn more about Sheri Carson, a University of Arizona College of Nursing clinical instructor who was named Arizona Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Year last month by the Arizona National Association of Nurse Practitioners for her work in the area of children’s health advocacy, visit here.

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