Susan Hovers, , BSN, RN, OCNUniversity of Illinois at Chicago PhD
Upon obtaining my BSN, I started my professional nursing career in Emory Healthcare’s UHC/AACN Oncology Nurse Residency Program in 2013. Through a six-month intensive orientation, I was able to specialize in Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) and Hematology Oncology as a new nurse. I held committee positions on the inpatient unit focusing on research and fall prevention. These focuses involved quality improvement projects to reduce falls in our population and to facilitate medical research on the unit by educating and informing staff of new clinical trials and protocols. I also held the role of preceptor for both senior nursing students and new graduate nurses. In 2015, I became an Oncology Certified Nurse to further enhance my knowledge and practice. During my three and half years as a BMT nurse, I cultivated a need to have a greater, more systemic effect in this population that I felt I could not do in my current position. Specifically within this population, these patients find themselves suddenly at end-of-life from severe complications post-transplant even after remission of cancer. Given their immunodeficiency, treatments are difficult and outcomes poor, especially with graft-versus-host disease. My research interests stem from this experience and has helped fuel my professional goals, leading me to pursue a PhD in Nursing. My dissertation will examine the role of the microbiome in the development of graft versus host disease, as well as the development of associated symptoms and the impact on quality of life.
Research/Clinical Practice Area: Jonas Scholar – Chronic Health
Dissertation: My dissertation research will examine the role of the gut and specifically the microbiome in the development of graft versus host disease, as well as the development of associated symptoms and the impact on quality of life. Graft-versus-host disease is a serious, debilitating condition affecting people who have received allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant for the treatment of hematological cancers. In the last decade clinical advances have led to increased long-term survival after transplant, but there has also been an increase in chronic graft-versus-host disease, affecting long-term outcomes and quality of life. Chronic graft-versus-host disease affects approximately 50-60% of patients and is the leading cause of long-term morbidity and non-relapse mortality after transplantation.