Rush University Medical Center Evidence-Based Practice and Research Updates

Authors: Mary Heitschmidt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, FAHA; Beth A. Staffileno, PhD, FAHA; and Janice Phillips, PhD, CENP, FAAN

The Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship (CCRS) provides research and evidence-based practice (EBP) updates and information about education and funding opportunities to nurses across Rush University System for Health. The CCRS is an academic-practice partnership between Rush University College of Nursing and Rush University System for Health whose efforts encourage clinical inquiry and promote clinical nursing research and evidence-based projects that improve clinical practice. Fundamental to the success of the CCRS is the integration of practice, research and education through collaborations among college-based faculty and hospital-based clinicians.

Many of the services and educational activities of the CCRS assist individuals and project teams with project development, abstract and manuscript preparations, and data management. The CCRS also houses the Rush Nurse Research Fellowship (RNRF), which aims to bridge the gap between the bedside and research. The RNRF provides direct care nurses in Rush System for Health with the infrastructure and opportunity to receive dedicated paid research time (eight hours per week) and mentorship from a CCRS faculty member to develop, implement, evaluate and disseminate a research study over a year.

Financial support from the Golden Lamp Society was instrumental in allowing the second cohort of fellows to start in July 2020. Katherine Diaz, BSN, RN, CMSRN, from 9 North Atrium completed her RNRF in June 2021, studying the experiences of nurses responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. She presented her work at the Rush System-wide Nursing Research Symposium, and her coauthored manuscript was recently published in the Journal of Professional Nursing.

CCRS faculty member Beth Staffileno, PhD, RN, FAHA, retired in 2021. Staffileno began as a faculty member in the Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship in 2009, becoming its co-director in 2017. Over the years, she has done amazing work that has expanded the reach of CCRS throughout Rush. She has also mentored faculty, students and research fellows to assist in getting published; supported nurses seeking clinical and educational advancement; and has helped recent award recipients. We are among the many who appreciate her support over the years!

Mary Heitschmidt, PhD, APRN, CCRN-K, and Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, chair the Professional Nursing Staff (PNS) EBP and Research Committee. The committee provides a forum for mentorship and innovation to promote nursing and multidisciplinary research and evidence-based practice. The committee’s goals are to advance nursing knowledge through the conduct of nursing research and evidenced-based projects as well as facilitate the dissemination of scholarly presentations and publications. The committee is charged with the following:

  • Increasing nursing research visibility and dissemination across the Rush Health System, regionally, nationally and internationally
  • Assisting and facilitating the preparation of EBP/research proposals, student-led projects and Institutional Review Board applications
  • Providing links to resources, disciplines, departments as well as CON, the Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship and interdisciplinary research teams
  • Identifying potential nursing research funding sources

The committee’s efforts include the following:

  • Initiating clinical grand rounds to highlight research and clinical practice topics
  • Convening an annual symposium to showcase ongoing evidence-based practice and research projects
  • Disseminating clinical and research journals to clinical floors
  • Coordinating an online journal club
  • Collaborating with the PNS Recognition Committee on the annual PNS EBP and research grant winner, which provides a clinical nurse with $1,000 for a research or EBP project along with mentorship from Heitschmidt or Phillips

The 2021 grant winner was Audrey (Killarney) Peri, MSN, RN, CPN, for her project “Improving Provider and Caregiver Confidence in Care Seat Use and Safety,” which had the goal of making car seat safety systematic within the organization.