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Lizer, 2007 Nurse of the Year, Studies Health of Regional Farmers
7/30/2008

�Farmers have often been viewed as the hardiest of all American workers. Indeed, hard physical work and long work hours have been commonplace among American farmers throughout the history of this country.� So begins the published research of Highland Community College�s Director of Nursing, Shannon K. Lizer, PhD, FNP, COHN-S. In her research published in the December 2007 and January 2008 issues of AAOHN (American Association of Occupational Health Nurses), Lizer found older farmers had several chronic diseases at higher rates than the general population; mental health implications were also identified. In her opinion, rural health nurses are in an optimal position to positively impact older farmers� mental and physical health status. funny pictures

Lizer explained, �There�s a real health-care coverage disparity with our region�s farmers. They purchase their own insurance � usually major medical � which doesn�t provide for regular health screenings� and that impacts a lot of things.� Regional nurses need to pay attention and ask lots of questions when farming families are seeking health care. �Nurses need to ask about activities on the farm, issues with health, and so much more,� Lizer added. When farmers are older (55 to 65) there�s the potential for depression. Nurses need to recognize and consider the diagnosis and its impact on the farmer and his/her family. funny images

Also in her research, Lizer studied the physical aspects of farming. �It�s a risky, dangerous occupation. As farmers age, they lose some of their physical strength and agility while still working long hours. We need to be aware of this and offer adjustments for this decrease in strength and agility.� She believes further work needs to be conducted in this particular area in order to offer health care professionals the forum to get together and fund research to study the physical aspects. funny photos

The second component of Lizer�s study focused on agricultural injuries. �There�s no formal tracking for agricultural deaths,� Lizer stated. �So many of the farm injuries and deaths are not listed in the Illinois Death Statistics as farming deaths and/or accidents. We really don�t know what happens, just that the death rate increases dramatically after age 65.� Her study examined specific areas, including the relationship between financial stress and injury among older farmers, experience with traumatic injuries, participation in injury prevention training, and also the relationship between the injury rate and farmer age/type of activities/hours of work per week.

As part of her program at Rush University, Lizer conducted her two-part research study with Robert �Chip� E. Petrea, PhD, Adjunct Clinical Professor, University of Illinois � Champaign.

Lizer, HCC�s Director of Nursing, received the 2007 Nurse of the Year award in a special section developed by the Rockford Register Star. The front page of the section reads, �She�s a true nursing leader� Shannon Lizer epitomizes the criteria of �Top Nurse,� continually working for improved patient care.� The special section included an interview, excerpts from nomination essays, and lists of previous awards.

To view Lizer�s work in its entirety, log into http://www.aaohn.org/practice/journal/index.cfm.

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