Statement of Scholarly Interest
My seminal contribution to nursing research, education and clinical practice is grounded in public health. My specific interest is on recognition and appropriate treatment of infectious disease. My interest in infectious disease, primarily bacterial infections, initially started when I worked as clinical microbiologist. Common infections found in primary care were tested by the way of bacterial cultures sent in from various medical offices, hospitals and other laboratories. Common organisms once very susceptible to antibiotics were now becoming resistant to treatment.
As a microbiologist, I identified organisms and provided susceptibility profiles; however, I was unable to affect change in culturing of infections, diagnosis, or treatment of the disease. As a critical care nurse, I collected specimens related to a patient’s initial hospital admission or subsequent hospital-acquired infection. As a microbiologist, I understand the importance of proper collection of specimens and appropriate treatment in relation to patterns of antibiotic resistance. Importantly, I incorporated this clinical practice pearl when teaching clinical microbiology to undergraduate nursing students.
As a nurse practitioner, I continued to treat patients presenting with infections in primary care with increasing patterns of resistance, and repeated returns for further antibiotic treatment and worsening of infections. At times, patients I followed did not have an initial culture and were treated empirically based on type of infection. Clearly, there was inconsistency in treatment related to current resistance patterns found in the community. With my background in microbiology, it was routine to culture infections prior to treatment to isolate, identify and accurately treat the offending pathogen.
My program of research is focused on closing existing gaps in treatment from culturing of infections and appropriate treatment based on bacterial susceptibility. As a family nurse practitioner in primary care and an educator of future healthcare providers, I know the importance of understanding what treatment will lead to successful outcomes. Accordingly, my initial study reviewed changes in prescriptive practices of healthcare providers in skin and soft tissue infections associated with the increase of community acquired MRSA. The results reflected increased occurrence of MRSA within the communities. Treatment patterns were representative of an increase in drug resistance.
I am committed to reducing inappropriate antibiotic use. Based on the results of my program of research, I plan to develop courses to educate primary healthcare providers on infectious diseases. Course content will include clinical presentation, proper culture techniques, examination of susceptibility patterns, and appropriate patient follow up. Effective treatment of patients’ infections will reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics, reduce patient visits and financial burden, decrease morbidity and mortality, and prevent hospitalization.
My philosophy of education is based on a clinical “hands on approach”, with an emphasis on evidence based practice and guidelines. Foundations are laid on clinical experiences, simulation based training, and team based learning. My goal is to support students and fellow healthcare providers in developing strong educational and clinical foundations necessary for life-long learning, evidence-based practice in advance nursing, and improve health outcomes of populations across the lifespan.
Cheryl Meddles-Torres, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, ENP-C
Psychiatric Mental Health
Primary Teaching Areas
Graduate Core Courses
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program
Family Health Nurse Practitioner Program
Research and Academic Interests:
Public Health, Infection and Antibiotic Resistance, and Medical Missions with Students
Research and Academic Interests:
Infection control and Antibiotic Resistance