Ms. Virginia LeBaron

Grant Category: Fulbright-Nehru Student Research Program
Field of Specialization: Public Health/Nursing
Name: Ms. Virginia LeBaron   
Official Address: University of Utah, Utah
Indian Host Institution: Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer
Center, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Duration of Grant &
Start Date :
Duration: 9 months
October 2011

Brief Bio:
Ms. Virginia LeBaron is currently a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, and a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah College of Nursing. She has extensive oncology and palliative care clinical experience, and has been practicing as a hospital based palliative care nurse practitioner for the past 7 years. Ms. LeBaron holds advanced certifications in oncology and palliative care and was recently inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Her research interests involve the delivery of palliative care to patients with advanced cancer, and she has a particular interest in communication and pain management at the end of life. Ms. LeBaron received her B.S.N. from the University of Virginia, her M.S. from the University of Maryland, and is currently working towards the completion of her Ph.D. at the University of Utah. Her work experience has included positions at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD), Georgetown University Hospital (Washington, D.C.) and University Medical Center (Tucson, AZ). Ms. LeBaron has been a nurse volunteer with the Palliative Access Program of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research since 2005 and has assisted with collaborative, educational initiatives in Nepal, India, and Tanzania. She has published most recently in the "Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing", reporting the findings related to the creation of a Palliative Care Resource Nurse team.
The goal of this dissertation research is to examine opioid availability at the distribution level between physician and patient from the perspective of the nurse providing palliative care to patients with advanced cancer in India. Specifically, this research aims to examine nurse advocacy for pain control using the theoretical framework of Moral Distress (MD) and the qualitative methodologies of ethnography and narrative inquiry to explore: 1) How is MD experienced by oncology nurses in India? 2) Does opioid availability influence nurse MD? and 3) How do nurses providing palliative care advocate for patient pain control? The long- term goal of this research is to inform effective policy and educational interventions that will reduce nurse MD, enhance opioid availability, and lessen the suffering of patients dying from cancer.