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Pathway to Innovation

We provide students with unique search experiences through the Pathway to Innovation program.

The program enhances student skills in research and scientific inquiry. Such skills are required for high-impact nursing practice and for entrance and completion of graduate studies in nursing. The Pathway to Innovation is a 240-hour focused program that provides students with a valuable opportunity to confirm a strong interest in research. The student may complete the 240 hours over one summer or spread out over two to three semesters.

Research Mentor

Faculty members mentor and guide students toward developing and implementing an independent project.

Matthew Springer, nursing student at USDMatthew Springer is a nursing student who entered the Pathway to Innovation program the summer before his third semester of the nursing program. He is working with faculty mentor Sabina Kupershmidt, Ph.D., to conduct a health needs assessment for immigrant and control populations in southeastern South Dakota. To prepare for this project, Matthew completed a research ethics and compliance training course prior to beginning any work on the project.

Caroline Smith Nursing student at USDCaroline Smith is a nursing student who entered the Pathway to Innovation program in her second semester of the nursing program. She is working with faculty mentor Haifa Samra, Ph.D., to conduct a literature review and compose a paper on the use of naloxone use by first responders in the United States in response to opioid overdoses. To complete this project, Caroline has worked with the Office of Nursing Research staff and the Wegner Health Science Information Center librarians on how to utilize information resources.

Research Activities

USD Department of Nursing 4th semester students, Caroline Smith and Matthew Springer, have been awarded CURCS mini-grants from the USD Council on Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship for their submitted proposals. These funds will allow them to attend the 2019 Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) 43rd Annual Research Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in March to present posters on their accepted research abstracts.

Nursing students enrolled in NS321 have the opportunity to participate in a research project entitled "Enrichment of Research Education and Clinical Practice for Undergraduate Nursing Students Through Meaningful Research" with faculty Sabina Kupershmidt, Ph.D. Students are testing the hypothesis that yoga breathing (pranayama), improves lung volume in healthy volunteers compared to no care during a six-week course of treatment.

Nursing students have the opportunity to work with faculty Sabina Kupershmidt, Ph.D., to be trained and certified as First Steps® Advanced Care Planning (ACP) Facilitators according to the Gundersen Respecting Choices® model. After earning a certificate, students teach ACP workshop in their community and assist in evaluating the programs' impact on learners.

The project “Enhancement of student success in pathophysiology through the implementation of supplemental instruction action research” provides meaningful research opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty Jean Yockey, Ph.D., as students are invited to participate as research subjects and research personnel.  

Other Activities

During the program, students will have the opportunity to be involved in several professional development activities. These include but are not limited to:

  • Data collection and management
  • Data analysis
  • Publications
  • Presentations
  • Journal club
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Research committee