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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PITT-BRADFORD NURSING PROFESSOR EARNS DOCTORAL DEGREE

PITT-BRADFORD NURSING PROFESSOR EARNS DOCTORAL DEGREE

BRADFORD, Pa. – Tammy Haley, assistant professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, has earned her Doctor of Philosophy in nursing from the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.

In her dissertation, Haley studied the personal, environmental and behavioral factors influencing condom use among rural high school students. Last spring Haley and research assistants surveyed more than 1,100 students in three school districts in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Haley said that while nationwide slightly less than half of teens are sexually active, her study found 56 percent were sexually active and that only six out of 10 of those students were using condoms, placing them at an increased risk for both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

She found that the strongest predictor for condom use was whether or not teens thought they should use them. Boys were likely to use them, and those that used a condom the first time they had intercourse were also more likely to continue to use them. Also, using drugs or alcohol was associated with less frequent condom use.

“One of the biggest barriers is that they’re embarrassed to acquire them, but not to use them,” she said.

Haley reported her results to the school districts involved last fall.

“This project was really to raise awareness,” she said. “It’s different to act on information that’s generated in a big city,” where most studies are conducted. “I think it gave us some good information for places to start. The schools were so receptive.”

Haley said she was interested in the subject because of her work as a nurse practitioner with Adagio Health, which provides reproductive education and care for men and women.

“I saw in my practice as a nurse practitioner people coming in very young with a sexually transmitted disease or an unintended pregnancy. My desire is to do better for my patients. It’s devastating to give somebody that type of news.”

Haley is also nearing completion on her Master of Public Health from the Pitt School of Public Health.

She is the coordinator of the Bachelor Science in Nursing program at Pitt-Bradford, where she has taught since 2003. In addition to her work with Adagio, she has many years of clinical experience as a registered nurse in the pediatric and medical-surgical areas and received her national certification in pediatrics in 1990.

She lives in Bradford.

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