After a Time of War, a Time to Heal: Get to Know Erin Donnelly, 2019 Falvey Scholar
BY SHAWN PROCTOR
This is part 1 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.
Erin Donnelly ’19 FCN
Hometown: Havertown, Pa.
Faculty Mentor: Helene J. Moriarty, PhD, ’77 BSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, Diane L. & Robert F. Moritz Endowed Chair in Nursing Research
Research: Wounds of War: Understanding the Dimensions of Moral Injury from a Health Care Perspective, also presented at Ethics of War and Peace Conference in April, 2019.
Other Honors: Presidential Scholar
In her own words:
In the nursing and health care community, there is a lack of literature related to the experience of moral injury in veterans—my project seeks to address this knowledge gap.
Moral injury is a psychological injury that results from “transgressions of deeply held moral and ethical beliefs and expectations” and has been documented in history as early as the warrior culture of Ancient Greece.
Through my literature review, I was able to identify prevalence, risk factors, conceptual models, new theoretical frameworks, and interventions that existed around moral injury. However, after meeting with Dr. Mark Wilson, I realized I would be remiss if I did not expand my knowledge of the pastoral, spiritual, philosophical, and ethical discussions surrounding moral injury to understand it more fully from diverse perspectives.
Part of this process involved seeking evidence on the efficacy of interventions designed to support active service members and veterans struggling with moral injury.
Erin’s “Falvey Experience”:
The database access provided by Falvey Memorial Library was essential for my complete review of the literature.
Since research on moral injury is in its infancy, I had to search in many disciplines to find emerging literature. I used CINAHL, PubMed, and ProQuest to find the majority of my scholarly sources. I was also able to cite these sources easily by exporting to RefWorks and using the citation links provided by ProQuest. Villanova gave me access to articles from the journals.
On a more personal note, the fourth floor of the library was a quiet and enjoyable location to read articles and review the books I found.
The Impact on Her:
I learned more about the care of our U.S. servicemen and women. Moral injury is an experience that requires care from a variety of disciplines, and I was able to explore multidisciplinary literature throughout this process. I have also learned how to take the primary role of responsibility for a project, while consulting regularly with a mentor.
Using this research, I have been able to apply my findings to my practice and assessment during my leadership clinical at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia. While taking care of veterans in the ICU, I recognized the importance of holistic care and a comprehensive psychological assessment that incorporates moral injury.
I have accepted a position as a Nurse Resident at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. But, in the long term, this research experience reaffirmed my goal of returning to school for a doctoral degree.
Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.