Our second staff spotlight shines on clinical research nurse Pamela Gentry, who talks to us about crafting successful telephone interventions to lower blood pressure, as well as changes at Duke over the past 30 years.
How long have you been at Duke? How long have you been at the Division?
I started at Duke in June of 1983. The exact date I joined the Division of Medicine is a bit trickier. I started working with Rowena Dolor at the Primary Care Research Consortium in 1998 and switched to working with Hayden Bosworth as a research nurse in 2002.
What sort of work do you do at the Division? What does a typical day look like for you?
On a typical day I spend a good deal of time contacting patients by telephone for our research on a telephone intervention. I also help with other studies, write telephone scripts for the intervention and help other corporations with similar research.
A lot has changed both at Duke and in the field of Medicine, since you started at here. What’s the biggest change at Duke that you’ve noticed since coming here?
The biggest change I’ve noticed between now and when I started is the way we look at patients. Today there’s a greater focus on preventive care rather than just one body part that is sick or hurt.
You’ve worked on several studies examining telephone interventions for blood pressure control. Can you tell me more about that research?
I’ve done a couple of studies in that area with different audiences, from renal patients to veterans to African Americans with diabetes--basically everyone has high blood pressure. We’re trying to see how much of a difference telephone interventions can make.
One of the current VA projects I’m working on involves calling patients once a month and talk about ways to get them to lower their blood pressure through exercise, diet, medication adherence and other areas.. Most patients look forward to calls and will take their blood pressure beforehand to be ready for the call. And it seems to work--the results so far have found that monthly calls do lower blood pressure.
What passions or hobbies do you have outside of the Division?
I enjoy spending time with my two boys, who are both in college. I also enjoy heading to at the beach or Lake Gaston and working in the garden. I also just picked up Catherine Coulter’s new book, Power Play.