Excellence In Nursing – Researcher: Alison Colbert
Colbert is Associate Professor at the Duquesne University School of Nursing.
When one thinks of the role of a researcher, certain words might come to mind: complicated, complex, big. But Alison Colbert says the exciting thing about research, particularly in the field of nursing, is that it can be about tackling any problem, big or small, and making a significant contribution.
“What I love about the profession is the potential impact, the amazing contributions nurses make to health in all sorts of different settings,” she says. “I love the problem-solving nature of nursing.”
Colbert has spent much of her career thinking about problems impacting vulnerable populations including people living with HIV/AIDS and the incarcerated. Such work has shown her the scope of impact nursing can make, particularly when people have competing priorities.
“When I got into nursing, it became very evident to me early on that when someone allows you to provide care for them, they are giving you this huge gift,” she says. “That’s so true in environments where people are especially vulnerable or marginalized.”
Colbert is currently working on a Department of Justice grant looking at how campus-based nurses can be better prepared to deal with sexual assaults. She’s also conducting a study with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital on the care of people with disabilities during all the face-to-face restrictions that occurred during the pandemic.
“We’ll have really good insight into how telehealth, for example, helps them and how in other ways, it’s maybe less helpful. And how we can use that tool better moving forward because it’s here to stay. If we can use it well, it really can change the way we deliver care.”