Augusta University College of Nursing student Steven Nicosia has been awarded first place in the student category at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 34th Annual Conference for his poster, “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Coping Mechanisms among Undergraduate Nursing Students.”
Nicosia’s poster will be featured in the APNA Annual Conference Virtual Poster Hall and will be marked with a ribbon to signify the award. This year’s conference is being held virtually Sept. 30-Oct. 4. APNA is a professional association organized to advance the science and education of psychiatric-mental health nursing.
The poster is the outcome of Nicosia’s honors thesis study, where he served as the principal investigator. The study was devoted to investigating the existence of relationships between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and coping behaviors in nursing students across the state of Georgia. ACEs are potentially traumatic events occurring in childhood (0-17 years) producing potentially lifelong health implications. Examples can include experiencing violence or abuse, witnessing violence in the home or community or having a family member attempt or die by suicide. ACEs can also be aspects of a child’s environment that undermine sense of safety, stability and bonding, including substance abuse, mental health problems, or instability due to parental separation.
Nicosia, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, chose the topic because he is “fascinated by the influence of childhood trauma on coping behaviors and health outcomes.”
Dr. Caroline McKinnon served as his faculty mentor for the study. Nicosia said, “Dr. McKinnon provided me with crucial guidance and support in designing the study, collecting the data, and analyzing findings.”
After graduation, Nicosia plans to become a child/adolescent psychiatric nurse and pursue future research at the graduate level.