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Nursing at WellSpan

Nurses discover better ways to deliver patient care through research

Around WellSpan—Tuesday, June 10, 2008

 The creation of the Evidence-based Practice Nursing Research Council has provided nurses at York Hospital with the opportunities to discover best practices for a number of health care challenges.

The research council has evolved during the past two years from a small group of nurses reviewing research articles into a membership of 60 clinicians presenting their findings at national conferences.

Collectively, the council conducted research projects on preventing workplace violence and treatment of deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that develops in the legs and could travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. 

To further research opportunities, a 12-week fellowship was created in 2007 to allow registered nurses to spend about 16 hours a week finding best practice solutions for delivery of care. Nurses must complete an application and submit a 500-word essay proposing a research topic to be selected for a fellowship. 

Increased interest in evidence-based research among nurses resulted in more than 160  people attending the first full-day collaborative research conference held April 30 in York. The keynote address was delivered by the president-elect of Sigma Theta Tau International, an honors nursing organization.

Sheree Seben, M.S.N., R.N., is the chairperson for the council and a clinical nurse in the coronary care unit. She has participated in three evidence-based practice research projects and supervised two fellowships since 2007.

"There is an art and science to nursing," Seben said. "The research council allows nurses at York Hospital to methodically explore the science of nursing. Our vision is that our nurses will be recognized nationally for strong evidence-based practices that help influence the future of the nursing profession."

Linda Pugh, Ph.D., R.N.C., F.A.A.N., is the director of evidence-based practice and nursing research.

Pugh joined WellSpan in 2006 and worked with Seben to create the research council. The pair continues to seek ways to increase the number of nurses conducting evidence-based practice research projects.

"My vision is to have an evidence-based project on every unit," Pugh said. "It keeps nurses involved and looking at their practice with a level of inquiry as to how we can make it better." 

Elizabeth Fisher, R.N., a clinical nurse in the medical surgical intensive care unit, and Peter Eisert, R.N., a clinical nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, have participated in fellowship programs. The next fellowship is scheduled to be conducted in November. 

Fisher, the first nurse at York Hospital to complete a fellowship, studied the safe administration of intravenous Metoprolol, a drug used for treatment of cardiovascular diseases including hypertension.

Eisert used his fellowship to research best practices for forensic evidence collection related to a trauma patient. The findings resulted in the development of a forensic evidence protocol for the Emergency Department.

WellSpan nursing leadership is discussing the creation of a research council at Gettysburg Hospital.

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