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Nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Complete Evidence-Based Fellowship
10/04/2011

DALLAS — Four Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas nurses have completed an intense year-long fellowship designed to prepare nurses to use research findings and the latest science to implement changes in practice.

Four Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas nurses complete year-long fellowship
Nurses who completed the program are (from left)Ancy Mathew, B.S.N., R.N.; Becky Douglas, M.S., RNC-MNN, WHCNP-BC; Rebecca Horn, M.S.N., RN-C; Jennifer Sellar, B.S.N., RN-C.

During the year-long program at Texas Christian University, each fellow is required to complete a major project which addresses an ongoing patient-care issue in his or her specialty. Fellows meet with experts for six day-long classroom sessions to share ideas and exchange best practices. By the end of the 12-month term, each fellow demonstrates the ability to integrate research, clinical findings, expert opinion, and patient preferences to improve care.

“Evidence-based practice in nursing has gained momentum in recent years,” said Pat Kelly, D.N.P., APRN, C.N.S., AOCN, interim nursing research and evidence-based practice facilitator at Texas Health Dallas. “Nurses are learning how to use research to foster evidence- based practices at the bedside. It’s one step toward making sure patients receive the highest quality and most cost-efficient nursing care possible.”

The 2010-11 graduates from the TCU program are:

  • Rebecca Horn, M.S.N., RN-C, adult inpatient psychiatric unit nurse. Her work involved empowering nurses with knowledge and skills for working with patients with eating disorders.
  • Jennifer Sellar, B.S.N., RN-C, direct- care nurse in outpatient day surgery. Sellar used risk information to establish important nursing protocols relating to post-operative urinary retention.
  • Ancy Mathew, B.S.N., RN, direct- care nurse in the heart and vascular interventional unit. Her project addressed fasting times for selected cardiovascular procedures.
  • Becky Douglas, M.S., RNC-MNN, WHCNP-BC, clinical education specialist in women’s services. Her project identified barriers associated with breastfeeding and rooming-in practices.

More than 50 fellows from across the region attended the 2010-11 TCU Evidence-Based Practice and Research Collaborative Program. The program includes of six all-day workshops where research and evidence-based practice experts help attendees to develop a spirit of inquiry, explore existing knowledge, plan for outcomes, and introduce sustainable changes in their institutions.

“Evidence-based practice means nurses are using the most up-to-date research to develop and to implement the best evidence-based practices to better care for patients,” said Susan Mace Weeks, D.N.P., R.N., C.N.S., LMFT, LCDC, associate dean at TCU Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences and director of the TCU Center for Evidence Based Practice and Research: A Collaborating Center of the Joanna Briggs Institute. “The program prepares nurses to address pressing issues in the field through systematic processes. The courses are rigorous as the use of evidence-based practice puts emphasis on the tests, data, and critiquing the research articles and relative available literature. An important program goal is to establish ongoing relationships between nursing faculty, nurse researchers and clinical nurses.”

“Naturally, this approach opposes using tradition to dictate practice,” Kelly added. “The goal of the program is to adopt safe and effective practices where it matters most: at the bedside. The use of evidence-based practice individualizes and streamlines the care patients receive.”

This year’s graduates presented their evidence-based practice projects and posters at a special graduation program Sept. 21 at TCU.

Projects that were appraised included Horn’s project, which focused on four basic skills that nurses have developed to better care for patients with eating disorders.

Sellar’s project relates to a problem she had witnessed for years in her specialty. By indentifying risk factors, including age, gender, type of surgical procedure and amount of IV fluids given, she is establishing protocols to address postoperative urinary retention, a common issue for post-surgery patients. Evidence-based nursing protocols will help prevent delayed discharges, bladder distention, and urinary tract infections.

Mathew’s project found that conventional protocols requiring patients to fast for eight hours prior to certain heart procedures could be reduced in some cases to four hours or two hours. Douglas’ project addressed barriers associated with exclusive breastfeeding and rooming-in evidence-based practices, which improve outcomes for babies and mothers.

“I am extremely proud of our these direct care nurses, their spirit of inquiry, and their accomplishments,” said Cole Edmonson, D.N.P., R.N., FACHE, NEA-BC, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Texas Health Dallas. “These nursing initiatives are examples of the commitment to improve nursing outcomes and better care for patients. Rebecca, Jennifer, Ancy and Becky are passionate about bringing the latest best evidence-base practices to the organization.”

The end of the 12-month fellowship marks the beginning of the 2011-12 Evidence Based Practice Fellowship. Texas Health Dallas direct-care nurses Boyce Davis, B.S.N., R.N., and Marina Reeves, B.S.N., R.N.C., have been accepted into this year’s program, which begins this fall.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 866-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Dallas.

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