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Nursing at Rush
Research & Quality Improvement Initiatives
Kathleen W., RN, and Kathleen D., RN, PhD in front of the Group/Educational Center purchased with Gamma Phi funds. (Theresa C., RN, not pictured.)  
Kathleen W., RN, and Kathleen D., RN, PhD in front of the Group/Educational Center purchased with Gamma Phi funds. (Theresa C., RN, not pictured.) 

Nursing at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, has always been on the cutting edge of innovation in patient care and professional advancement. As such, the Professional Nursing Staff Organization and the Rush University College of Nursing have formed a partnership designed to establish an evidence base for nursing care within the medical center. We firmly believe that all nurses, from administrators to nurses at the patients’ bedside, can contribute to the development of a practice-relevant body of knowledge. The Professional Nursing Staff Research Committee was established to support the generation of this knowledge base. The goals of the research committee are to:

  • Stimulate and support nursing research in the medical center.
  • Identify resources that will facilitate nursing research within the medical center.
  • Highlight new and ongoing nursing research projects within the medical center.
  • Serve as an initial review body for internal and external nursing research projects or projects that may use the nursing resources of the medical center.

Several projects are ongoing and include:

Initiation of Social-Emotional Learning Groups: An Evidence Based Project (See photo above.)
The purpose of this project was to develop a curriculum and evaluation method for social-emotional learning groups on Four Kellogg, the Child Inpatient Unit. Social-emotional learning is recognized as fundamental to children’s acquisition of self-regulation skills such as self awareness, social awareness, self-management of affect, relationship skills and responsible decision making. The ability to utilize self-regulating behaviors is key to learning, school adjustment and formation of health relationships. Four Kellogg treats children with a wide variety of serious emotional illnesses. Self-regulation is increasingly understood to be a core problem that cuts across several dimensions of children’s psychopathology. Last year with the help of Rush University Clinical Research Award funding several of the Four Kellogg staff and a senior Rush nursing student, Michael Bohnenst, initiated a project to develop social emotional learning groups.

The first phase was an assessment our patients’ problem solving/coping skills. At this juncture, it was determined that problem solving groups would be difficult with the younger children (age 7-12) because of the wide variation in the developmental levels of children in this age group. We also sampled the coping/self-regulation skills of the teen group. In the next several months we organized group materials for these teens. The first test of our coping skills group was last spring. Currently the skills manual is being revised based on feedback from staff involved in this pilot. One way we used the Clinical Research Award funds was to purchase materials and to organize all the group materials in a central location on the unit with the goal of facilitating staff’s use of evidence-based teaching/group materials.

Improving Communication with Patients Receiving Mechanical Ventilation in the ICU
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of a novel word and picture board to facilitate communication in patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in patients who are receiving mechanical ventilation from both nursing and patient perspectives.

Assessing the Impact of a Rapid Response System on Promoting Early Rescue of Acutely Ill Patients
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of a nurse-led rapid response system on patient outcomes (in-hospital cardiac arrests, mortality rates, unplanned ICU admissions and length of stay) as well as the impact on improving nursing staff ability to assess and respond to acutely ill patients.

Expansion of Palliative Care Services at Rush University Medical Center
The purpose of this study is to assess perceptions of palliative care needs and extend the services of the palliative care team.

Pregnant Women's Weight Change After Delivery
The purpose of this study is to assess the weight changes that occur during labor and delivery and their impact on weight-based medications.

Impact of a Timer as a Reminder for Nursing Documentation of Pain Reassessment
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of the use of digital timers in improving pain reassessment parameters.

Assessing the Impact of Hand Hygiene and Infection Prevention Measures in an ICU Setting
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of hand hygiene and infection prevention measures in the ICU setting.

Assessing the Use of a Thermolite Blanket in Managing Post-Operative Hypothermia
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of a new Thermolite blanket as an alternative to the use of multiple warm bath blankets to treat hypothermia in the post anesthesia care unit.

Rounding Study
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of every two-hour rounding on patient safety measures and patient satisfaction in medical surgical patients.

Sepsis Collaborative
The purpose of this study is to improve identification and management of patients with sepsis in emergency room and ICU settings.

A variety of additional projects are ongoing throughout the medical center addressing quality of care initiatives and nursing care practices to improve the outcomes of care. Being a participant in the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators facilitates the formulation of additional projects to improve the quality of nursing care.

This Web site highlights some of the medical center’s completed and ongoing projects. Contact either Ruth Kleinpell, RN, PhD, FAAN, or Lola Coke, RN, PhD, co-chairs of the PNS Research Committee, for more information.

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