North­eastern Uni­ver­sity student-​​researchers Shubha Bhat and Eric Hin­der­leider exhib­ited an unusual level of com­po­sure during their poster pre­sen­ta­tion on delirium and seda­tion for some 6,000 ther­a­pists, phar­ma­cists and physi­cians at the Society of Crit­ical Care Medicine’s annual Crit­ical Care Congress.

Bhat and Hin­der­leider con­ducted three studies on delirium in crit­i­cally ill patients; they were the only stu­dents to attend the con­fer­ence, held in San Diego in Jan­uary. Their research was per­formed under the direc­tion of John Devlin, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of phar­macy prac­tice. The Society of Crit­ical Care Med­i­cine is an inter­na­tional sci­en­tific asso­ci­a­tion of inten­sive care professionals.

The stu­dents praised the uni­ver­sity for the chance to show­case their work. “The great thing about North­eastern is that it offers stu­dents a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties,” said Bhat, a fifth-​​year stu­dent in the doctor of phar­macy pro­gram. She received an under­grad­uate student-​​research award from the Office of the Provost and funding from the Office of the Dean in the School of Phar­macy to attend the meeting.

This expe­ri­ence drives me to accom­plish even more,” Bhat added, noting her plans to do a res­i­dency at a hos­pital after she grad­u­ates next year.

It was cool to net­work with physi­cians, nurses and res­i­dents and to have an oppor­tu­nity to check out new tech­nology in the field,” said Hin­der­leider, a grad­uate stu­dent in the doctor of phar­macy pro­gram who plans to do a res­i­dency at one of the hos­pi­tals affil­i­ated with the Uni­ver­sity of California-​​San Fran­cisco School of Med­i­cine after he grad­u­ates in 2012.

It was great to have the oppor­tu­nity to immerse myself in that pro­fes­sional envi­ron­ment,” he said.

All three of Bhat and Hinderleider’s research posters are expected to be pub­lished in critical-​​care jour­nals, said Devlin.

One study, a sec­ondary analysis of a randomized-​​controlled study that recently appeared in Crit­ical Care Med­i­cine, ana­lyzed the antipsy­chotic drug quetiapiane’s ability to alle­viate indi­vidual symp­toms of delirium. The second study mea­sured whether a national shortage of propofol, a widely-​​used seda­tive in the ICU, has impacted the length of time patients spent on a ven­ti­lator. A third study explored the ways that critical-​​care phar­ma­cists rec­og­nize and treat delirium.

Devlin said that stu­dents appre­ciate research after they’ve expe­ri­enced the process of devel­oping an idea, col­lecting data, writing an abstract and pre­senting the results.

It really hits stu­dents hard when they come to these big meet­ings and find out that inten­sive care unit clin­i­cians are so inter­ested in the research they did,” said Devlin, who praised Bhat and Hinderleider’s com­po­sure while inter­acting with some of the world’s top critical-​​care physi­cians. “They say, ‘I can’t believe how impor­tant my research is.’”