Industrial engineering senior Briana Saul recently received first place at the LSU Undergraduate Research Conference for Engineering Level 2 Researchers.
“The first year I presented, as a Level 1 researcher, I didn’t win anything,” Saul said. “It’s funny to see how everything has turned around. It was definitely my goal to my push myself further, and it paid off.”
Saul’s award-winning presentation featured research on the handoff process, the passing of information between two professionals during a shift change, in the community paramedic program in the East Baton Rouge Parish.
This research project is the result of a grant application Saul was introduced to during a conference. In December 2014, she applied for the Supervised Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant, a grant supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents. The SURE grant requires applicants to conceptualize their own research interests and projects, collect and analyze data and report the findings.
“The community paramedic program is different from most handoff programs. With other occupations you complete a 12-hour shift, handoff off your information within 10 minutes and you’re one,” Saul said. “With the paramedic program, you’re handing off information after one month of completing a shift.”
With her research, Saul aimed to answer the questions: How are they handing off this information after one full month of a shift? How much are they handing off? How much of this information is retained?
Though Saul was unable complete the implementation process of program, she was able to collect the necessary feedback and data.
“One phase of data collection focused on how prepared the paramedic was before going on a shift or visit,” Saul said.
Saul collected data through multiple practices, including ride-along sessions with community paramedics, surveys and general observations. The next set of data was to measure the amount of information that was shared and then retained.
“They had meetings where they would discuss what went on throughout the month, and I’d ask the ongoing paramedic the five things I was looking for. I’d then follow up with looking at the agreement percentage between what was said by the previous paramedic.”
The Austin, TX native also received an honorable mention the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Fall Regional Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, for her paramedic research the day after she received her first place recognition.
Much of Saul’s campus involvement included NSBE, a student-led organization of which she was a member of for six years.