Researching an Invisible Illness: Meet Megan MacNeil

Cape Breton, NS

On Thursday, March 21, Bachelor of Science, Nursing student Megan MacNeil will be presenting her work, “What is the Lived Experience of Men Living with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)?” as part of CBU Research Month 2019. Megan left a career in the financial industry to return to school for nursing and wants others to know that it’s never too late to pursue your passions. “I always wanted to help people, and it was when I discovered research that I truly realized how many people can be helped with the findings of research projects,” says Megan. As a student in the two-year advanced standing Bachelor of Science, Nursing program, Megan had the opportunity to put that passion to work through a self-directed research project. Her faculty advisor, Professor Janet L. Kuhnke , encouraged Megan to participate in Research Month as preparation for her future studies at the post-graduate level. Megan says Research Month is the perfect chance to share something she is excited about while gaining experience for future research endeavors. “Research is vital to academia as a whole,” says Megan. “People in the Nursing profession especially are constant consumers of research, seeing as we utilize evidence-based practice.” Megan’s presentation examines how men perceive living with health issues, specifically looking at Lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. “Although the lived experience of SLE patients has been studied, participants have been primarily female,” says Megan. “I feel there is a gap in the knowledge base for the male population.” Because the symptoms of lupus often cannot be seen, it has been referred to as an “invisible illness.” Megan says that the primary audiences for her presentation are people interested in the health field, as well as anyone who may have a friend or family member living with a chronic or invisible illness. Check out Megan’s presentation as part of the Student Panel on Thursday, March 21, running from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in room CS101. For the full schedule of Research Month events, find the schedule here.