Reinvigorating Research

Reconvening the PNS EBP/Research Committee

In an effort to reinvigorate research and evidence-based practice (EBP) at Rush, the Professional Nursing Staff (PNS) EBP/Research Committee was reconvened in March 2015.

The overarching purpose of the committee is to develop a stronger clinical nurse presence and involvement with EBP and research.

Each department is represented on the committee by a clinical nurse specialist and one or two clinical nurses, who spend more than 50 percent of their time in direct patient care. Faculty from the College of Nursing, the director of human subjects protection, the AVP of professional nursing practice, a hospital manager and a librarian also participate as committee members.

Later in 2015, the director of clinical research position was created; Mary Heitschmidt now serves in that role and as the co-chair of the committee, along with Magnet program director Melissa Browning. The director of clinical research is a bridge between the Medical Center and the College of Nursing.

During FY2016, four nursing departments were given the goal of conducting a clinical nurse-led research study or EBP project. All projects were reviewed or approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and include the following projects:

  • Medicine/Oncology/Cardiology Department (led by Christy Aliposa and Erin Dowding): This multidisciplinary team has participants from nursing, pharmacy, medicine and information technology. Their EBP project focused on the use of normal saline to maintain patency of all intravenous lines with the goal of reducing alteplase use.
  • Surgical/Neuro/Musculoskeletal/Rehab Department (led by Barbara Ragsdale): The goal of this clinical nurse-led EBP project was to improve patient care by implementing a nursing bedside report.
  • Women’s and Children’s Department (led by Danielle Wood): This interdisciplinary nurse-led study in the pediatric intensive care unit focused on determining the effectiveness of measuring oral temperatures in intubated patients as compared to axillary temperatures.
  • Perioperative/Interventional Services (led by Arlene Todd and Katrina Marshall): Nurses and physicians partnered to study the effect of music on patient anxiety, pain and satisfaction levels in the perioperative unit before, during and after surgery.

Currently, the committee has 25 members, including 10 clinical nurses, and is continuing to expand. Support from nursing senior leadership has been instrumental in the engagement of clinical nurses who are supported to attend meetings, obtain training and have time allocated to work on projects. This is paramount to providing an institutional culture of EBP.

Collaboration between senior hospital and academic leaders and clinical nursing staff, as well as alignment with the institution’s strategic goals, mission and vision is necessary to move nursing research forward in any institution. Clinical nurses have been able to enhance their portfolios, advancing or maintaining their status as RN3, the highest level of the clinical ladder for staff nurses.