Helping advance the science of nursing

Nurse practitioner’s research focuses on preventing pressure ulcers

Friday, Jan 10, 2020 • Elizabeth Couch : Contact

Donnalee Pollack nursing Ph.D. graduate from UTA

Donnalee Pollack always knew she would pursue a nursing Ph.D. When she started searching for a university, one name kept coming up: The University of Texas at Arlington.

Now in her third year, Pollack says the program in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation has exceeded her expectations.

She raves about the Friday lunch sessions, which feature renowned researchers, her classes, and the warmth and availability of her professors.

“I consider myself very lucky to be here,” says Pollack, a nurse practitioner who specializes in wound care at the Veterans Affair Medical Center in Dallas. “I have enjoyed every single one of my classes. Every one of my professors has made themselves available. There have been times when the only time I could talk to a professor was on the weekend or on a Friday night n, and they make themselves available. It’s just been a terrific experience.”

Pollack’s primary research interest is the prevention of pressure ulcers in veterans with spinal cord injuries. She works closely with her research advisor, Marco Brotto, the George W. and Hazel M. Jay Professor of Nursing and director of the College’s Bone-Muscle Research Center. Together they are seeking innovative ways to identify biomarkers that will improve the diagnosis and treatment of wounds.

Pollack has had a successful run at UTA. In 2019 she presented a poster as a Rising Star of Research at the International Sigma Theta Tau conference. And in 2018, she was named a Jonas-Smith Trust Veterans Healthcare Scholar for 2018-2020. Jonas Scholars are an elite group of doctoral nursing students who complete rigorous research for their dissertations.

Ultimately, she says, she’d like to stay at the VA and combine clinical practice with research. She’d also like to do a little teaching.

“UTA is my number one choice,” she says. “I feel I should be giving back and assisting in helping alleviate the coming nursing shortage, and contribute to the progress of nursing science.”

—Written by Olalekan Oguntoyinbo, College of Nursing and Health Innovation