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Rachel Gunderson
2010-2011 Honors Student

Name: Rachel Gunderson 
Honors in: Nursing 
Hometown: Sugar City, ID 
Major: Nursing

Rachel GundersonTitle of Project: The Relationship Between Specific Variables and Patients' Self-Reported Perceptions of Living with Heart Failure

Abstract or Brief Description: Significance: Heart failure has become a major public health concern costing the U.S. an estimated $39.2 billion (American Heart Association, 2010a). Examining heart failure from the patients’ perspectives can provide a better understanding of this disease and may yield more appropriate interventions. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe patients’ perceptions of living with heart failure and to determine whether those perceptions are influenced by specific variables. Methodology: Using a non-experimental, cross-sectional design, a convenience sample (n = 50) was utilized to determine perceptions of living with heart failure. Findings: No correlation was found between age and overall mean score. No significant difference was found in overall mean score between genders, New York Heart Association class, and in those who received ultrafiltration. Implications: Recommendations are to follow these patients over time to monitor their perceptions of living with heart failure.

How did you get interested in your topic? Heart failure is something I have always been interested in. I also believe it is important to view each client holistically and treat each client according to their individual needs.

Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? I do intend to further my research in graduate school. I would like to look at the relationship between the specific variables of fatigue and depression and patients' perceptions of living with heart failure.

How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? I gained a better, more solid understanding of research than I would have gotten from any class.

How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? My advisor has been an amazing mentor who has encouraged me to dream big and accomplish all my goals.

What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? Don't hesitate. Just do it. It will be one the hardest, yet most rewarding things you will at Moravian College.