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Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (SURF)

Welcome to the College of Nursing SURF Information Page.

The aim of the SURF program is to nurture students into careers that combine research into their chosen profession, providing an understanding of research across disciplines and fields.

The program runs from Monday, June 3, 2019 through Friday, August 9, 2019.

Each fellow will be provided a $3,500 stipend for the period plus housing.

The application deadline is February 4, 2019.

View the full SURF program description and application.

The main criteria for the selection of fellows will be personal scholarship, academic excellence, and the match of applicant interests with those of participating faculty members.

We are happy to see you here. Here are some pointers to consider before you launch into reading about the interesting College of Nursing SURF project opportunities:

  • The main SURF application page says you must be between the 3rd and 4th years of your Bachelor's program. The projects here allow more flexibility - be sure to see what each one lists. Most of them would welcome Master's level nursing students, some will take you before your 3rd year.
  • When you write your letter for the main SURF application (link below), include your first and second choices (and a third, if there is one) for the project(s) on which you would like to work.
  • Also in your letter, say how the letters of reference will be arriving (e.g., emailed to the main SURF program coordinator).
  • If you have a question, ask us! Use the College of Nursing SURF coordinator, Karen Klingman, as your first point of contact.

Following are brief descriptions of the projects in the College of Nursing. Select the link for additional information on each project.

Research Topic: Nursing Teamwork
Faculty Mentors: Helen Clancy, DNP, MBA, LNHA
Research Question: Does a two-day education intervention on team tactics improve nurses' ability to work as a team?

The importance of teamwork in nursing cannot be overemphasized. Teamwork among nurses has been shown to produce better patient outcomes and higher staff satisfaction. The aim of this study is to improve nursing teamwork in an acute-care hospital nursing unit. The design is quasi-experimental repeated measures. The intervention is based on principles of teamwork, change management, and staff engagement. Three trainers from each unit plus the nurse manager will attend a two-day team training program on teamwork, including communication, conflict management, and listening. These trainers will then train the rest of the staff. After all staff are trained, reinforcement of skills will continue by the managers and trainers. Teamwork will be measured using the Nursing Teamwork Survey (NTS) tool. The 45-question NTS uses a 5-point Likert-type scale and has been demonstrated to have good psychometric properties.


Research Topic: Relaxation Rooms, Getting To Know You Patient Boards, Aroma Therapy on the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Vaughn, DNP, RN, NE-BC and Amanda Brown, PhD, RN
Research Questions: See specific project

Upstate Nursing and the College of Nursing have a unique opportunity to collaborate on research. There are various projects in progress such as:

The Relaxation Room - Does the use of a quiet break or meditation room have an impact on clinical nurse retention rates? Work with the pediatric and neuroscience units to collect and analyze data.

Getting To Know You Patient Boards - When nurses are able to connect with patients through a patient specific information board, does it result in improved patient satisfaction? Work with the oncology unit to collect and analyze data to determine the impact this practice change has on patient care.

Aroma Therapy in the EMU - Does aroma therapy have an impact on patients on the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit at Community Campus. This project is just getting started.


Research Topic: Transitioning the Preterm Infant to the Supine Position
Faculty Mentor: Multiple
Research Question: Does the timing of transition to the supine position prior to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge impact achievement of developmental milestones in preterm infants?

Preterm infants have malleable bones and are at risk for positional deformities and malformations as a result of positioning in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). As a result, preterm infants are repositioned every 2-3 hours in the NICU to optimize motor development. These infants should sleep supine after discharge to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, there is no research on when the transition to the supine position should occur in these preterm infants. The purpose of this medical record review, linking pediatrician and hospital data, is to determine the association between the timing of transition to the supine position and the achievement of developmental milestones in infants born at less than 32 weeks gestation.


  • Complete the SURF online application, including a personal statement of your academic goals and career objectives.
  • Submit an official transcript of your undergraduate study to date.
  • Have two letters of recommendation submitted to the SURF Program. The letters of recommendation may be requested from professors related to your major, an advisor, and/or department chair. [Letters of recommendation can be mailed, or emailed, by your recommender to the program.]

Contact the College of Nursing SURF Coordinator, Karen Klingman, with any questions.