Dr. Cynthia L. Russell, a professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Hannibal High School graduate, has been elected president-elect of the International Transplant Nurses Society. That post will lead to her installation as president of the society in the fall of 2013.
Russell, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN, joined the UMKC faculty earlier this year. She has previously served as Research Director and Research Committee Chair for the Society. At UMKC, her NIH funded research is focused on nursing interventions that lead to improved patient adherence with post-transplant treatment regimens.
“When patients receive a heart or kidney transplant, their life changes dramatically. Their quality of life is high, but many things need to be monitored closely afterwards,” Russell said in a media release.
Because these patients feel better and visit hospitals and doctors’ offices less often than in the past, some tend to be less vigilant about keeping medical appointments and taking their anti-rejection medications on a consistent basis, she said. Those medications also often increase cancer risk, so transplant patients have to be extremely careful about other cancer risk factors such as sun exposure and smoking; and be more focused on preventative factors such as exercise and screenings.
Russell, the daughter of Dr. Tom and Betty Fischer of Hannibal, is a 1978 graduate of HHS. Russell, who now makes her home in Columbia, Mo., received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Rush University in Chicago, and her PhD from Saint Louis University. She recently led a task force that published the “Scope and Standards for Transplant Nursing Practice and the Transplant Competencies.”