Mitch Emmons, 844-5741


AUBURN -- Protecting patient confidentiality is of primary importance in the medical profession, and one of the key elements of research by Auburn University nursing instructor Iris Mullins

Mullins has been involved in care-giving programs involving HIV and AIDS patients since the mid 1980s, and in related research since the early 1990s. Through her research, Mullins has developed an extensive database of information that is being used to improve not only nursing training in care giving for HIV/AIDS patients, but also the quality and confidentiality aspects of the nurse-patient relationship.

"My research has examined care-giving needs as well as how patients with HIV or AIDS want to be treated," Mullins said. "I also have looked at how nurses perceive that these patients want to be treated."

Continuing education is the key to effective nursing, according to Mullins.

"Continuous education also requires actual hands-on practice of the profession in order to stay in tune with patients' needs," she said. "Throughout the nurse-patient relationship, confidentiality issues must be carefully guarded. This also gets deeply into family issues where confidentiality is most critical."

Mullins' research is leading to improvements in methods for training nurses, family member care givers, and the patients themselves to better cope, manage the stresses associated with their illness, and to better understand behavior and attitudes.

"In general, this research leads to better education, better health promotion and protection and prevention programs, more effective support groups, and improved care giving strategies," Mullins said. "The work we are involved in ultimately has the objective of improving quality of life."

Mullins has presented her findings nationally and is involved in a related study with a colleague in Thailand.

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CONTACT: Mullins, 334/844- 6765.