PhD Students Present at UCLA Nursing Research Conference

Two School of Nursing PhD trainees presented at this year’s UCLA Nursing Research and Innovation Conference on May 31, 2023 on the UCLA campus.

Megan Guardiano and Paul Boy delivered a podium presentation together on “Work Environment and Wellbeing Among Prison Nurses in California: An Investigation During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Paul also presented a poster presentation titled “Cultural Connectivity and American Indian Suicide Ideation.”


The annual Nursing Science and Innovation Conference, hosted by the UCLA Health Nursing and School of Nursing, showcases science-based discoveries, best practices, and policy development. This year’s theme was “Translating Research into Practice and Policy” and included two nationally recognized nurse scientists as speakers.

Occupational Health Nursing faculty, Dr. Wendie Robbins and Dr. Jian Li, were also in attendance. Great job to Paul and Megan!




Megan Guardiano’s paper “Working Conditions and Wellbeing among Prison Nurses during COVID-19 Pandemic in Comparison to Community Nurses,” which was also authored by Paul Boy, Dr. Robbins, and Dr. Li, showed that prison nurses suffered from increased rates of psychosocial and organizational work factors, sleep issues, impact from COVID-19, and psychological concerns compared to nurses in traditional clinical environments.

“In our study, prison nurses worked longer hours compared to community nurses, and these working hours increased since before the pandemic,” said Dr. Li, co-principal investigator. “These findings are important, suggesting that prison nurses may be predisposed to risks of mental disorders, as well as potential harm to physical health, given the recent research evidence from the WHO that long working hours are found to be associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The study included researchers at UCLA, UC Irvine, and a team of psychologists within the California prison system.

“Our study recognizes the work and experiences of nurses, especially in the understudied specialty of correctional nursing,” said Megan Guardiano. “Both prison nurses and nurses working within the community averaged high levels of work stress, and many reported symptoms indicative of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Dr. Robbins, co-principal investigator, noted that prison nurses perceived adequate PPE availability and reported less fear of infection at work, but longer working hours and less sleep. This highlights the importance for work policies related to nurses’ wellbeing. She suggested, “applications of our study could contribute toward the development and implementation of occupational policies, such as those that affect working hours, to protect nurses’ physical and physiological wellbeing.”


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