Danica Uzelac, ASFA 2018 poster presentation

Rush System for Health: Nursing Clinical Research Integration

Mary Heitschmidt, PhD, APN, CCRN

Rush University has developed a national reputation for excellence in scholarship and clinical practice through its unique collaboration between the College of Nursing (CON) and the Medical Center. Recently, several critical changes in leadership led to a renewed interest in revitalizing discussion around that unique collaborative vision

After 10 years of superior leadership directing the Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship (CCRS), Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, FAAN, FCCM elected to step down from this role. Angelique Richard, PhD, RN, CENP became the new Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at Rush University Medical Center (RUMC) and Associate Dean for Practice at Rush University College of Nursing in October 2016.

Rush University Medical Center was beginning to expand its mission to include development of a health system, spurring the College of Nursing Dean, Mark Foreman, PhD, RN, FAAN and Dr. Angelique Richard to initiate efforts to connect nurses from all of the Rush institutions - RUMC, Rush College of Nursing, Rush Oak Park Hospital (ROPH), and Rush Copley Hospital (RCH) - to provide strategic visioning for clinical nursing research and evidence-based practice (EBP) throughout the new Rush System.

On Nov. 6, 2017, the Rush System nursing research retreat commenced. Content of the retreat included:

  • a brief history of the CCRS
  • the current status of clinical nursing research
  • the need to develop a framework to guide future work
  • potential initiatives such as a nursing research fellowship, CCRS activity tracker, and other steps

This was the first time that nurses from the various Rush System hospitals were integrated in an academic clinical event. Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN was introduced as the Director of Nursing Research for the CCRS and the Director of Health Equity for the Rush System. It was an empowering day!

Since the 2017 nursing research retreat, many exciting developments have taken place. In December 2017, the CCRS expanded the reach of the CCRS EBP and research grants to include Rush Oak Park Hospital, where two nurses were awarded CCRS grants.

Mary Heitschmidt, PhD, APN, CCRN and Beth Staffileno, PhD, RN, FAHA, co-directors of the CCRS, and Dr. Janice Phillips developed and disseminated a model depicting the structural process and outcomes for the Rush Health System and Academic-Health Service EBP and Research Partnership and established a five-year strategic plan for the CCRS, integrating activities across the Rush System.

With the support from our system CNOs Angelique Richard (RUMC), Karen Mayer, PhD, RN, MHA, FACHE, NEA-BC (ROPH), Mary Shilkaitis, MSN, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE (RCH), Dean Foreman, and the CCRS, the future is very bright for clinical research and EBP at Rush!

Extracorporeal Photopheresis Kit Packaging