Supported by Community Health Network Foundation, the Society for Nursing Excellence hosted their first research competition and the winners were announced in November 2008. Since then, Community Health Network nurses and their teams have been hard at work to design and implement their studies. Here’s an update on each project the Society’s $50,000 allocation is supporting:
Adventures in Neonatal Feeding Program
Denise Hartman, RNC, MBA, and Clinical Director of Community Hospital North’s NICU, acquired a training program for NICU nurses on cue-based feeding for the pre-term infant. The training was completed in February. The objective of cue-based feeding is to better assess when the individual infant is ready for oral feedings, rather than setting an arbitrary gestational age at which all babies are expected to be ready. This not only protects against adverse outcomes from oral feedings in infants who are not ready, such as aspiration pneumonia, but it also allows those who are ready to benefit from earlier maternal-infant bonding through oral feedings, and may shorten length of stay and enable infants to transition to home and a normal life earlier. Denise and her team are in the process of submitting a proposal to the Community Health Network Institutional Review Board (IRB) for data collection that will enable them to compare infant outcomes before and after the training and implementation of cue-based feeding program.
Exercise with the Severely Mentally Ill
Dr. Linda Stephan, DNS, RN, RNC and Director of Behavioral Care Services Nursing, has submitted her proposal to the Community Health Network IRB for an “Exercise Program for Individuals with Severe Mental Illness at Risk for Poor Physical Health.” Dr. Stephan will be working with residents of group homes for the severely mentally ill to institute walking and other physical activities for these residents who, due to their illness, are at far higher risk for sedentary lifestyle and related conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. Before and after assessment of mood, overall functioning, and physiological measures will be conducted to measure the impact of exercise in this population.
Dedicated Oral Care vs. Usual Care in Post-Stroke Patients
Debbie Ferguson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN and Neuroscience Clinical Nurse Specialist, and her team are finalizing their proposal to study “Routine vs. Dedicated Oral Care in Stroke Patients” in preparation for IRB submission. This novel study will compare routine oral care with a specialized oral care regimen designed to provide oral stimulation, which has been suggested in previous studies to improve stroke-associated dysphagia. This randomized, controlled study will compare time to advancement of diet (as recommended by a blinded speech pathologist) among patients with dysphagia after stroke.
Saline vs. Heparin Flush in Central Line Patency
Julie Painter, MSN, RN, OCN Clinical Nurse Specialist, plans to compare incidence of line thrombosis before and after implementation of a positive-pressure saline flush as an alternative to a heparin flush for central lines. While other institutions have transitioned to saline as an alternative to the higher-risk heparin flush, Julie found there to be an absence of evidence reported in the literature to support this practice. Her findings will be of interest to other institutions considering this transition.
White Noise for Improving Sleep and Healing
Vickie Hacker, MS, BSN, RN and Clinical Director at Community Hospital South, and her team plan to study the effects of white noise on quality of sleep and patient satisfaction in the medical-surgical environment. Vickie is working with Steelcase, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to explore installation of “white noise” (soft, low pitched background noise like ocean waves, rain, or a soft humming sound) technology in one med-surg unit (the intervention unit) in order to compare patient reports of quality of sleep and satisfaction (HCAHPS scores) between the white noise unit and a control unit. This study has the capacity to impact not only our performance on our patient satisfaction scores, but if found to improve sleep, could have important effects on healing and rehabilitation for our patients.
Congratulations to these outstanding Community nurses and their teams for their stellar performance in pursuing advancement of nursing knowledge through disciplined inquiry.