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New UC Davis nursing school receives first research awards

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Before students take their first course at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, UC Davis' newest professional school is already conducting research to advance health and improve health care. Nursing researchers Heather M. Young and Deborah Ward were recently awarded grants for two different nursing research studies.

"The vision for this school calls for transformative research and that research must be woven into the graduate nursing education programs," says Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing and founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. "Faculty, students and other collaborators conducting research in the communities we serve is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the school, as well as the research itself. To get to that, research had to begin early in the school's launch."

Debbie Ward"It is exciting to see our vision for nursing research at UC Davis take shape and begin impacting health care in our communities."

Both of the school's first grants fund research projects designed to improve nursing care as well as improve health for people across a variety of settings.

"Nursing research is integral to advancing health," Young says. "This research will help us better understand and prove the impact of nursing interventions on overall health care and safety."

One grant, a $300,000 award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will focus on how to help back-surgery patients better manage pain on their own. Ward, who is the principal investigator for this study, says the interdisciplinary research project will examine the impact of nurse-led intervention of pain self-management for people who have spinal surgery. The study will be conducted in collaboration with the UC Davis Spine Center.

"What's unique about this study," Ward says, "is that it looks closely at the impact of nursing intervention as people move across multiple care settings, from pre-surgery, to surgery and then back home."

The research project is one of several through the foundation's Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative, a program designed to generate and disseminate research showing a link between what nurses do and the contributions they make to advancing better and safer care for patients.

"The results of this research will supply the much-needed evidence about nurses' contributions to improving health-care quality and transforming the way we deliver care," says Mark Pauly, co-director for the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative.

The school's second grant, which is also an interdisciplinary grant, is a collaborative effort through the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center, whose vision is to transform silos of research into new collaborative scientific discoveries. The grant is a $600,000 award through the National Center for Research Resources. Young is the principal investigator for this study, which focuses on the development and testing of the deployment of nurses as health coaches, while motivating individuals with diabetes to adopt healthy behaviors in a rural and underserved region.

The two-year study explores ways to strengthen daily health management of diabetes with common and easy-to-use communications with nurses who serve as health coaches. The communications may be across telephone or via telehealth video technology.

"More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes. It's important for people with diabetes to eat the right foods and exercise, yet it's difficult to change old habits," Young says. "Nurses can work with individuals to improve their daily habits and avoid serious health issues. This study is exciting because it will look at ways nurses can reach out to people with diabetes in rural areas using easy, inexpensive and efficient ways."

Young says both research projects fit the school's mission to provide interprofessional and interdisciplinary education and research to advance health, improve quality of care and shape policy.

"It is exciting to see our vision for nursing research at UC Davis take shape and begin impacting health care in our communities," Young says. "This vision will continue to unfold as more faculty join the school and take on additional research and, especially, when students begin to conduct research in our communities."

UC Davis Health > Health Alumni and Friends > Friends of Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing

Spring / Summer 2010

Spring / Summer 2010 Issue Cover
Spring / Summer 2010 Issue

UC Davis Health System is proud to be home to medical, nursing, family nurse practitioner / physician assistant, public health and health informatics students and to also be the internship site for pharmacy, nutrition and other programs. Improving the health of our communities requires that we bring together these perspectives, and UC Davis is well positioned to do so.

New UC Davis nursing school receives first research awards

Nursing researcher Elena Siegel