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Twins to present at Midwest Nursing Research Conference

Christa and Candace Carroll

Christa and Candace Carroll

Senior nursing students Candace and Christa Carroll are excited to graduate from Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) this May. But before they graduate, the twins still have projects to complete, tests to take, and a presentation to give in April at the Midwest Nursing Research Conference (MNRS) in Indianapolis.

As part of the Honors Program, they were required to work on a research project with a faculty member. Associate Professor Cindy Kerber is their advisor: “Candace and Christa have a passion for caring for older adults. So, they chose the project designed to improve the lives of older adults with dementia. We received funding from the William E. and Nancy Froelich Endowment for Long Term Care to fund the project expenses. Throughout the study Christa and Candace worked many extra hours. They were always enthusiastic and had energy for excellence. For Christa and Candace, their experience as undergraduates in conducting and disseminating research will provide a foundation for further research in their careers.”

The Carroll sisters will be presenting “Sensing a Difference in Dementia Care” at the MNRS conference. This will be their first research conference, and they are very excited for this opportunity and experience. “Our study involved lavender and essential oils and the impact they had on patients with Alzheimer’s and sundowning symptoms,” said Candace. “We used a small sample of about 30 residents that involved putting the lavender diffuser in the room with their patient’s every day from 4–8 p.m.”

Their research project had a time frame of 30 days, and the nurses were to chart the number of falls and as needed medications. At the end of the 30 days, the data showed that both the number of falls and as needed medications decreased. “We have been working on this project with Dr. Kerber all year,” said Christa. “Seeing these results was amazing!”

Their desire to pursue a career in nursing started at home in Plainfield. Their mother is a nurse, and the sisters both said she was a huge inspiration.

In 2008, their grandmother was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, and was staying at their home. For Candace, seeing the great care the hospice nurses provided for her grandmother also motivated her to want to become an exceptional nurse, and to care for patients like they cared for her grandmother. Christa was also inspired by the hospice nurses, and has a passion of helping others and giving back to society.

Students at MCN know how intense the program is, but having a sibling—especially a twin—has been a tremendous benefit for Candace and Christa. They always have someone to go to for support, especially when they are stressed out, they said. They both agree that being a twin at the same college, in the same program, has been an amazing and wonderful journey.

After graduation, Candace would like to be an RN in an acute-care setting, and Christa would like to be an intensive care nurse or an oncology nurse. Both plan to pursue graduate degrees in nursing.