Stacy A. Al-Saleh, Ph.D., R.N., C.C.T.C.

What moment or experience in your life influenced your decision to be a nurse?

During my undergraduate degree, I switched majors a few times while I tried to find the right fit. I was ultimately drawn to nursing because I wanted a career where I could use my passion for science to serve others.

What sparked your interest in nursing research?

As a heart transplant nurse coordinator at Mayo Clinic, I noticed that many of the patients I cared for seemed to have difficulty managing their post-transplant regimens and would unintentionally miss doses of their medications despite extensive education. I also knew that many patients had previous strokes, cardiac arrest events and mechanical circulatory support devices that may have led to cognitive changes. This led me to pursue a Ph.D., and ultimately to conduct research that examined associations between medication adherence and memory processes.

What is your area of focus?

People who receive organ transplants are tasked with managing very complex medical regimens. Additionally, transplant recipients experience many co-occurring symptoms, including sleep difficulties, fatigue, memory problems and depression, which can negatively impact their quality of life. My current research is focused on understanding relationships between sleep and symptoms in this population.

How will your research improve patient care?

The goal of my research is to develop and test interventions that will support overall self-management and improve symptoms for people who have received organ transplants. This is particularly relevant to nursing practice because nurses are responsible for much of the education and ongoing care coordination for patients who receive transplants. By helping transplant recipients manage their symptoms and complex regimens, nurses have the opportunity to improve patients' quality of life and honor the gift of life that they received through transplantation.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to explore nursing research?

As a nurse, I've seen the impact of Mayo Clinic's mission to inspire hope and promote health firsthand. I sought to advance my nursing research career at Mayo Clinic because I was drawn to the Division of Nursing Research's focus on innovating to meet unmet patient needs. The breadth and depth of experience within the division has provided an incredible environment for me to continue growing my skills while advancing my research. I feel incredibly fortunate that I get to be a part of a team that is generating knowledge that will improve health care and transform nursing practice at Mayo Clinic and beyond.