Former nursing student helps conduct study on Hispanic organ donation


    In May, former nursing student Jennifer Zemplinski compiled a literature review about the study she helped conduct concerning the Hispanic community and the subject of organ donation, specifically, the lack of organ donation within the community.

    Associate professor and Harris College Doctor of Nursing Practice Program director Dr. Kathy Baker compiled the study, “Hispanic Perspectives Regarding Organ Donation,” to understand the Hispanic community’s feelings and knowledge of organ donation in order to ultimately increase Hispanic American donor rates.

    According to the study, more education and publicity is needed to circulate in the Hispanic community because the willingness to learn more about organ donation was prevalent. Also, many culturally-based fears and misconceptions were apparent in the participants.

    Zemplinski wrote in her review that four main themes in the data were found to influence willingness to donate; awareness, knowledge level, emotions and values. Zemplinski included that several of the participants believed it was good to donate, however, donation conflicted with the beliefs their parents taught them, beliefs that the body must be buried whole or the belief that the church did not support donation. Zemplinski wrote that the study aimed to increase current knowledge about the Hispanic communities’ thoughts and feelings regarding organ donation, realizing the vision of one participant who stated, “I hope Hispanics donate more.”

    The study’s results have since been shown at the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honors Society Symposium and at the Arlington Memorial Hospital.

    Zemplinski’s extensive work and review also led to her being named a winner of the 2009 Harris College Research Symposium.

    Dr. Susan Rugari, nursing assistant professor, said Zemplinski was an undergraduate during the time of the study, a fact that made an impact on all faculty involved.

    Rugari, who assisted in data analysis and review, said Zemplinski did great work.

    Hispanic Studies and Spanish professor David Bedford, who assisted in translation and gave input about Hispanic culture, said that Zemplinski was very important to the study.

    Zemplinski is currently working at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth,

    “I am working in a hospital and trying to become a competent nurse that can serve my families,” Zemplinski wrote in an e-mail. She wrote that she may return to graduate school and continue the project then.

    Currently Dr. Baker and Dr. Rugari are working together to produce a published manuscript of the study. They plan to submit the manuscript to the Journal of Transcultural Nursing, Dr. Rugari said.

    After giving it “a little polish and a little enhancement,” said Dr. Rugari, they hope to have the manuscript published possibly as soon as October.