NEWS | May 28, 2015

UC Davis nursing graduate students showcase scholarly work at Academic Symposium

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

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School of Nursing students showcase posters, theses and doctoral dissertation presentations at annual Academic Symposium.

From hospital readmission rates and simulation training to family planning for rural women and pediatric triage assessment, the scope of work undertaken by students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis ranges from clinical to community, from birth to end of life.

Graduate students pursuing doctoral and master’s degrees present their scholarly work at the 2015 Academic Symposium, June 5 on the UC Davis Sacramento campus. For the 56 students who earn degrees from the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Program this year, the event represents the culmination of their studies and the final step before graduation.

“The diversity of research, community projects and health studies conducted by our students speaks volumes as to their talent, knowledge and passion to lead real change in health care,” said Debbie Ward, associate dean of academics. “Those within the health system and visitors from the greater community will be amazed at how each and every one of these students delivers on the school’s vision to advance nursing and become leaders in clinics, communities and classrooms.”

All of the students presenting are in one of four School of Nursing graduate programs led by the Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group, an interprofessional team of more than 50 faculty members from various disciplines. Students working toward their Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership must complete a dissertation. Master’s-degree leadership students must complete a thesis, as well as physician assistant and nurse practitioner graduate students in the school’s clinical programs.

Projects slated for presentation at the symposium include:

"Student Nurses' Perceptions of Self-Efficacy, Readiness and Perceived Clinical Judgment Through the Use of Multipatient Simulation: A Pilot Study:" This study aims to increase student awareness to safely and effectively prioritize, delegate and implement care for multiple people in a clinical setting. Master’s-degree leadership students Laura Corson and Charlie Dharmasukrit developed a three-person simulation, typical of what a nurse would experience on an acute-care floor, and examined participants’ perceptions of their confidence and preparedness before and after the simulation experiment. “This is a novel use of simulation whereby we increased the fidelity in simulation of what students will find in the real world,” explained Dharmasukrit. “There is a real need in nursing education to develop students better,” added Courson. “Our project illustrated students need more practice before performing in a real, clinical setting.”

“Infant Mortality Rates in African-Americans:” Nicole Smith, a nurse manager pursuing a master’s degree leadership, recognized that African-America babies die at a rate of two-times more than Caucasian babies and wanted to change those statistics. She interviewed providers on their experiences and uncovered a factor she had not imagined. “Most of those I spoke with felt they didn’t have enough information or training from their employers on infant mortality, health disparities or cultural competence,” Smith said. “Most of the participants felt that biological factors that cause infant mortality were a result of social factors, including racism, as the main reason we’re seeing such disparity.”

Refugee Cultural Orientation for Sacramento Food Bank: As part of the School of Nursing’s Community Connections program, three first-year master’s-degree leadership students, teamed with the Sacramento Food Bank to develop a health and hygiene orientation session for clients of the organization’s Refugee Resettlement Services. Andrea Rosato, Beverly Schacherbauer and Carel Troutman developed tools to assist families immigrating from Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia and other nations, navigate the complexities of health care. “When we were putting together the teaching module, for the three of us it was still kind of theoretical,” Rosato explained. “By the time we taught the first family, they at least knew who their physician was and put that on the form.” Purposefully developed to differ from other nursing fieldwork courses, the year-long Community Connections course partners students with a community mentor to research and implement a system-wide solution. “It offered me the opportunity to look at health care in the community and how to be a leader in helping organizations develop new ideas and help them bring together opportunities to meet people in their home and in their communities, where they need services offered,” added Schacherbauer.

“An Examination of How Nurse Managers Access Information for Nurse-Sensitive Quality Measures:” Rayne Soriano, nurse and doctoral candidate, analyzes how increasing amounts of healthcare data through electronic systems can be leveraged to improve quality in our hospitals. In order to apply his research to practice, he also educates nurse managers - key operational leaders in our hospitals, in the field of health informatics. For his dissertation, Soriano interviewed 28 nurse managers from nine different health care organizations to determine how they access information in various systems to monitor nurse-sensitive quality outcomes in the backdrop of their already complex roles. “I found in order to access all the information they need, they are required to jump between multiple departments, electronic health records, and other areas within the hospital system to paint a complete picture of the quality of care,” Soriano explained. “The combination of using health information technology and caregiving, which are from opposite worlds, must be researched and understood, so that we can get it right and improve quality and safety.”

“Critical Analysis of Data Collection Strategies for Safety Measures in Older Adult Care: A Focused Study of a Healthcare Organization:” Sara Marchessault, a nurse slated to complete both nurse practitioner and physician assistant degree programs in August, examined one health care organization’s data collection on adverse safety events, such as falls and medication errors, in older adults, to determine if it aligned with national best practices. “I reviewed more than 100,000 data entries from 40 facilities along the West Coast,” Marchessault said. “The results point to the challenges of creating a database and then collecting the data in a way that can be analyzed, then used to improve quality within the organization.” Marchessault said the project has prepared her to support and generate quality improvement efforts in her home clinic and provided her the tools to help make change happen.

“Distribution of the Physician Assistant and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Workforce in California’s Community Health Clinics:” While working in a clinical role, Kristine Himmerick, physician assistant, educator and doctoral candidate, experienced firsthand the important role physician assistants fill in the greater health care system. For her dissertation, she set out to document that valuable role in a quantifiable way. “I reviewed publicly available data for the purpose of determining roles within the workforce of California’s community health centers,” Himmerick said. “My biggest revelation was that half of the primary care providers in these centers are physician assistants and nurse practitioners. That was far greater than I expected and much higher than the national average.”

Symposium events will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the Education Building. For a more in-depth look at the students and their projects, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu. You can also follow the event happenings via #IAdvanceHealth on Twitter.