Student Spotlight: Sean Sibley

We continue with our series featuring the nine graduate students who received research fellowships to focus on research last summer.  Sean Sibley, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, CNE, Clinical Assistant Faculty & FNP Program Coordinator in the University of Maine School of Nursing and a Ph.D. candidate in Nursing Education took time to answer a few questions about the impact of the award, his experience at UMaine and plans for the future. 

What led you to UMaine and to your major?

I came to UMaine as a recent high school graduate to study nursing and theater after taking many early college courses. I grew up in the area and wanted to study close to home. UMaine offers so many value-added experiences including student clubs, organizations, and diversity of academic opportunities. I was set on a career in the helping professions and thought I would pursue pre-medical studies. Nursing was a profession that my guidance counselor recommended and I’m grateful for that push! The bigger question is what has kept me at UMaine. Each role I have taken on as a student employee first, and now professional employee, has led to exciting work and continued education. UMaine is full of passion, mentors, and innovation. From first teaching as adjunct faculty, to now being a PhD candidate in nursing education, UMaine is a second home to me. 

What is a short description of the research project you are involved in?  How did the IoM fellowship make a difference?

Using the IoM fellowship as a springboard, I completed a systematic review of the literature. My current research is on the topic of simulation-based education in nurse practitioner preparation. This is an emerging area and there is limited research on the topic. To support future research, funding proposals, and policy, I wanted to get this rigorous review out to the community to support evidence-informed teaching and learning. The IoM fellowship supported me financially, but also features the importance of soundly educating nurse practitioners to address healthcare quality and access gaps in the United States.

Did you select it or was it in progress?

The systematic review was inevitable to set the stage for future research on the topic, but the fellowship was a catalyst for timely completion. 

What are some of your research tasks?

Quality systematic reviews follow best practice guidelines including Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), and select quality review criteria (e.g., AMSTAR, JBI). Designing a review protocol is also a big undertaking and is a publication in itself. One key takeaway from this research project is the importance of partnering with a librarian who has review experience! Many thanks to Jen Bonnet for writing search strategies and having them peer reviewed by colleagues. As a team, we employed the use of Rayyan to efficiently and blindly screen search results; this is a program I would highly recommend for your next review.  

What were some exciting, rewarding moments, and some setbacks?

The biggest setback realizing this was an empty review. This outcome did allow for a robust discussion about the state of science on the topic and future considerations. 

What are your future plans in this area? At UMaine or after leaving UMaine

I will continue to teach and research in the School of Nursing at UMaine. 

Would you like to recognize one or more faculty members, advisors, or administrative staff for their help?

Quality reviews include blinded screening of results for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Dr. Kelley Strout was a steadfast mentor and reviewed all of these search results with me. Also, Jen Bonnet as librarian was integral to the project. 

Can you see this research continued by others?  

Absolutely! There needs to be continued appraisal and review of the literature to guide best practice. 

Will it have clinical applications?

The nurse practitioner profession is growing rapidly in response to healthcare needs and is especially needed in medically underserved communities in Maine. Simulation-based education has promise to help fill gaps in current learning modalities, but is resource intensive and lacking evidence. This systematic review will add to the support for designing more robust research studies and move simulation-based education forward to strengthen our future healthcare workforce.