Nursing - Cardenas and Kueny

Angela Kueny and Sandra Cardenas

Amish Reported Use and Need for Vitamins for Family Members with Hemophilia

Sandra Cardenas ’16, Major: Nursing

Angela Kueny, Assistant Professor in Nursing

About the Project

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that inhibits blood clotting, leading to life-threatening conditions such as excessive bleeding after an injury and/or internal bleeding. Although rare in most populations, Amish communities are particularly susceptible to hemophilia and require medical treatments to help them lead healthy lives.

“Sandra and I worked together to identify herbs or other alternative therapies or supplements that may interact with bleeding or clotting (coagulation) with Amish patients with hemophilia,” Kueny says. “Our data collection included an extensive literature review to identify supplement-coagulation interaction, secondary data analysis from interviews with Amish families with hemophilia, and conducting a follow-up survey to identify supplements used by Amish families with hemophilia. The ultimate goal is to provide information about supplement-coagulation interaction to: a) Amish patients with hemophilia, who use supplements in their daily life that may impact their disease process or symptoms, and b) their health care providers.”

What Was Most Challenging

From Cardenas’ perspective, it was difficult to keep the vitamins, herbs, and supplements taken from current research articles organized. “I used a spreadsheet to track the information so we could provide accurate information to the Amish.”

Most Fascinating Discoveries

“This project was interesting because it let me make more in-depth discoveries about how the body works,” Cardenas says. “It helped me gain a deeper understanding about a single aspect of our bodies: the vascular system and how specifically blood clotting works.”

Kueny thought it was interesting to learn how Amish families with hemophilia take several supplements that have been found in literature to interact with bleeding or coagulation. “This is a great call to action for health care providers to have open conversations with Amish families with hemophilia about the supplements they are taking to avoid excessive bleeding concerns.”

How Has this Project Contributed to Your Learning Experience?

Cardenas was previously involved with research at the undergraduate level, but was more limited with that project since she was only responsible for collecting data. “This time around I was on the front lines, writing the HSRB (Human Subjects Review Board) form and article, creating surveys, and diving into the literature review,” she says. “This experience taught me the skills and discipline needed to conduct qualitative research as I head toward graduate school.”

What Have You Learned About Yourself from this Project?

“I’ve learned I’m passionate about writing articles about my research and reflecting on the  journey,” Cardenas says. “I wouldn’t have learned as much if it wasn’t for my research adviser. She mentored me on how to conduct research and gave extra guidance when necessary. Her advice helped me further develop my research skills and accurately present our discoveries.”

Final Thoughts

This research project will help Sandra better understand her role as a nurse, why it is important to understand cultural and home context of patients we serve, and consider research for her future.

—Angela Kueny

Cardenas and Kueny will submit their findings to conferences for the University of Iowa Hemophilia Team, the Luther College Student Research Symposium, and other academic societies’ conferences.