Sarah Farrell, Nursing ’81, ’83
Associate Professor, School of Nursing
“Expanding technology into the realm of health care really is a very noble mission. We want to be able to send people across the world to make a positive change.”
If anyone in the School of Nursing could be termed a technophile, it’s Sarah Farrell. The U.Va. alumna, who joined the Nursing School faculty in 1991, sees advancing technology and innovative use of the Internet as keys to progressive health care. Currently involved in helping discharged psychiatric patients set up personal homepages to provide ready access to information and support, she also trains nursing students to be savvy about Web health resources. “Nurses should know what their patients are seeing,” explained Professor Farrell. “It’s important for nurses to be aware of where patients get information, both good and bad.”
In addition, Professor Farrell envisions computers as a way to monitor patients’ conditions more effectively. Her research and teaching have focused for many years on the relationship between technology and improving health outcomes, emphasizing access to care for rural and underserved populations.
One of Professor Farrell’s research projects uses tablet-style computers in waiting rooms to pre-screen patients for symptoms of depression. Exploiting its global potential, she’s also adapting this technology for use in South African villages to help assess children who are dealing with grief. “This makes our research much more meaningful,” she said. “To take the research you’re doing in rural Virginia and apply it internationally really makes a difference in people’s lives.”