October 27, 2011

Nursing Research Day showcases nursing studies

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Anisha Fuller, R.N., B.S.N., explains her research to Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., Executive Chief Nursing Officer. (Photo by Susan Urmy)

Nursing Research Day showcases nursing studies

Nursing research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center took center stage last week with more than 300 people attending the Nursing Research Committee’s Research Day and Poster Presentations, part of the weeklong OctoberFest 2011 sponsored by VUMC Nursing Education and Professional Development.

“I remember when we had our first poster presentation in 1993 and there were a handful of posters. We now have a critical mass of nurses who are doing very meaningful, very professional research that adds to the growing body of evidence-based practice,” said Nancy Wells, D.N.Sc., R.N., who leads nursing research efforts at VUMC.

The daylong event featured two nationally recognized speakers, four breakout sessions and showcased nearly 50 research posters developed by VUMC nurses.

Organizers chose three top posters to receive monetary awards from the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI), the second-largest nursing honor society in the world. The awards were provided by the STTI’s Iota Chapter, founded at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in the 1920s. The winners were:

• First place – Ellen West, MSN, R.N., 11N Myelosuppression, “Reducing Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections in Oncology/ Hematology Patients by Improving Nursing Practice”

• Second place – Mary Gwyn Bowen, R.N., Clinical Pharmacology, “Art to Heart: The Effects of Staff Created Art on the Post-operative Rehabilitation of Patients Recovering from Cardiovascular Surgery”

• Third place – Rebekah Lemley, R.N., Burn Center, “Are You Ready for the Next Emergency?”

• Honorable mention – Courtney Norman, R.N., BSN, Radiation Oncology, “Patient Education Initiative for Radiation Oncology”

• Honorable mention – Ashley Staniewski, MSN, R.N., Surgical Intensive Care Unit, “Down to Zero: Strategies Beyond SHEA for CLABSI prevention”

• Honorable mention – Cheryl Corle, R.N., BSN, Children’s Hospital Patient Care Center, “Utilization of Mock Codes to Improve Staff Confidence Level, Proficiency, and Competency with Emergency Situations”

“I go to conferences all over the country, and some of the most scholarly works I see are presented by Vanderbilt nurses at our own research day,” said Tom Christenbery, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor of Nursing and president of the STTI Iota Chapter.

“Nurses are doing research and quality improvement projects all over this University, in clinic, hospital and academic settings, and getting that information out there to all health care providers has a direct impact on patient care.”

In addition to the poster presentations, keynote speakers discussed topics in nursing research and evidence-based practice (EBP).

Ellen Fineout-Overholt, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the Groner School of Professional Studies and chair of Nursing at East Texas Baptist University, spoke on “Cultivating a Sustainable Culture of Evidence-Based Practice.”

“Evidence-based practice is a paradigm and lifelong problem-solving approach that uses a process to improve outcomes for all,” Fineout-Overholt said.

“How do we make it stick? It’s about how we think. Is it an add-on on top of what nurses already do, or is it foundational? It’s having a foundation of EBP that allows us to have the best research, practice and education that we can.”

Janice Selekman, D.N.Sc., R.N., professor of Nursing at University of Delaware Children’s Hospital, presented “Sacred Cows in Pediatric Nursing: Where is the Research?”

It highlighted nursing practices that have no scientific basis, such as taking vitals every four hours, suctioning techniques and restraint policies. She said many policies and protocols are based on fears, convenience or simply what has always been done, with no science to back them up.

“I ask you to be a leader, to have vision, to ask why over and over again, even if somebody says your first priority is not nursing and you’re unprofessional. Just keep asking why and then never accept the answer they give you,” Selekman said.

“That’s the only way you’re going to help move the profession forward and get us out of this rut of doing it the way we’ve always done it.”