BH WELL’s Mady Strong receives Pam Branson Award for research on new nurses and COVID-19

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) research team member Madelyn “Mady” Strong, BSN, RN, was recently awarded UK HealthCare’s Pam Branson Award for her research on new nurses and COVID-19.  

Strong, a 2019 graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, presented her study, “Being a New Graduate Nurse in the Middle of A Pandemic: An Exploratory Analysis Of the Effects of COVID-19” during UK HealthCare’s Annual Nursing Research Papers Day.  

“As new nurses in the nurse residency program, my residency group and I felt an immediate need to address the impact COVID-19 was having on us and our colleagues,” said Strong. “I hope my presentation sheds light on how COVID-19 changed nursing and leads to future interventions to help our fellow nurses feel secure in their new careers.”

Strong and her team of neuroscience nurse residents sampled 39 new nurses and found that almost half reported not being content with nursing. Strong proposed several suggestions for UK HealthCare to implement to alleviate new nurse burnout including designated breaks for nurses, increased tech pay, free parking, and eliminating “staff huddles” after shifts. 

Strong was awarded UK HealthCare’s Pam Branson Evidence Based Practice Award for research. The award is named after Pam Branson, MSN, RN, (UK ‘93) a clinical nurse specialist who was an employee at UK HealthCare for over 36 years. From 1978 to 2015, Branson displayed a strong commitment to quality nursing practice and exemplary use of evidence-based decision making to foster optimal patient outcomes. The award is designed to honor nurses in the Nurse Residency Program who mirror Branson’s curiosity and clinical inquiry in their nursing practice. 

BH WELL Executive Director, Dr. Zim Okoli shares, “Mady’s experiences during COVID-19 exemplifies the challenges faced by so many new nurses during that time. Her experiences highlight the need to move beyond mere coping and resilience to, perhaps, a more important discourse on how nurses can be supported to thrivein their profession.”

Janine Lindgreen, Nurse Residency Coordinator, shares “Annual recognition of a nurse resident for their evidence-based practice project is always a highlight of my year. Watching nurses develop, commit to professional nursing, and contribute to the body of nursing knowledge is so rewarding. Mady and her team of neuroscience nurse residents exemplified this process by demonstrating a spirit of inquiry with the goal of supporting their fellow new graduate nurses during a particularly difficult transition to practice year. Mady and her team showed that new nurses can make a difference!”



The Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) research team is a part of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing’s areas of research.  Their mission is to promote behavioral health and wellness among individuals facing behavioral health challenges, with the goal of advancing behavioral health nursing research, education, clinical care, and evidence-based practice programs in healthcare and education settings.