Sandy Hagstrom

PhD in Nursing

Sandy Hagstrom“Having the opportunity to learn from expert faculty who are genuinely interested in understanding my interests and ideas and who then encourage me to think about my research in new ways, ways that will help me make a unique contribution to nursing science within my area of interest, has been invaluable to me.”

Since 2005, Sandy Hagstrom has been an advanced practice nurse leader for pediatric critical care at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. There, she establishes standards for nursing practice and provides clinical leadership in implementing best practices to improve patient safety and quality outcomes.

Hagstrom’s interest in advancing nursing knowledge, specifically questions of interest to nurses who work in hospitals, brought her to the School of Nursing, where she is obtaining a PhD degree. She hopes to one day conduct research in inpatient pediatric settings and facilitate frontline nurses’ participation in research to answer questions of importance to them.

Hagstrom chose the University of Minnesota School of Nursing because of the school’s reputation of innovative education and research. “My interactions with faculty members and previous students helped me realize that people like me can do a PhD program,” said Hagstrom.

She said she’s been impressed with her ability to tailor the program in a way that meets her needs and interests. “I’ve had the support of my advisor and other faculty members to complete my coursework, preliminary exam requirements and plan for my dissertation research in a way that builds on my interests,” said Hagstrom, who is expecting to graduate in 2015. “I was able to complete class assignments using my research interests as the focus, while demonstrating application of the principles I was learning in that class. Then, using subsequent assignments, I was able to refine my topic and the way I think about it as I learned new skills and perspectives on nursing theory, research and practice.”

The topic of her dissertation is family stress in pediatric critical care. Her research will explore the experience of families whose children are hospitalized in the ICU for extended periods of time, with the ultimate goal of understanding nursing interventions that support families.