Nurses with research doctorates are vital in improving patient outcomes and quality of care. However, less than 5 percent of nurses have PhDs, the education needed to perform independent research according to the National Institute of Nursing Research. The aging and retirement of current nurse researchers indicates a coming shortage of nurse scientists that could impact future nurse research contributions to healthcare delivery.
To help prevent this shortage, the Hillman Program in Nursing Innovation developed the idea for a BSN to PhD program to accelerate education opportunities for new and young nurse researchers. The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) was the first school to implement the idea, and took it a step further by developing an immersion experience in clinical nursing practice for PhD students through a partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Hillman Scholar Madelyne Z. Greene says, “Research shows that the average age of students entering nursing PhD programs is early 40s, which is far older than many other disciplines. This shortens the duration of nurse scientists’ productive careers as researchers, educators and innovative leaders. There is a compelling need for increased innovation in preparing new nurse scientists, leaders and innovators earlier in their careers.”
Scholars in Penn’s BSN to PhD program are both undergraduate and PhD students at the same time, as early as their junior undergraduate year or upon entry to the second degree accelerated BSN program. Students achieve rapid progression through the rigorous coursework by replacing specific required undergraduate courses like healthcare policy and research methods with graduate-level versions. They also enroll in PhD core courses and advanced coursework in their selected research content area during undergraduate semesters instead of taking electives.
The truly unique aspect of the program is the seven-month fellowship, which is distinct from existing residencies for new nurse graduates. It includes a high level of clinical and scholarly mentoring, shorter program length, and waiver of the usual requirement of committing to work for the sponsoring institution for a set time upon graduation.
To learn more about Penn Nursing’s BSN to PhD program and nursing fellowship, visit here.
Our two Nurses of the Week are University of Pennsylvania nursing seniors Marcus Henderson and Ian McCurry who are working to transform the way the homeless community in Philadelphia receives health care. Both students are focused on using a community-oriented approach to health care to target shortcomings in the current health system.
Their project “Homeless Health and Nursing: Building Community Partnerships for a Healthier Future” was awarded the 2017 President’s Engagement Prize which includes $100,000 in funding. The senior students partnered with the Bethesda Project, a Philadelphia nonprofit working to reduce homelessness and provide more community-oriented health care by being proactive in addressing health disparities before these homeless individuals reach the emergency room.
Henderson and McCurry have both been caretakers in their young lives. In middle school, Henderson took care of his great aunt with Down syndrome and his grandmother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after school each day. This led him to study public health in high school and eventually join Penn’s nursing program.
McCurry was inspired to become a nurse and caregiver by his veteran mom who he says taught him to look at communities through a nursing lens. As a teenager, he helped adults in his community with developmental disabilities and later worked as a counselor for them, leading him down a natural path to nursing.
Now, both senior nursing students are pursuing their passions and breaking stereotypes about male nurses. Many male nurses choose to go into military or administrative roles, but Henderson and McCurry plan to continue on their path to community nursing and breaking down barriers for marginalized community populations.
To learn more about Henderson and McCurry and their passion project to revolutionize community healthcare for homeless individuals, visit here.
Barbara Medoff-Cooper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor of Nursing in the Department of Family and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing), and Ruth M. Colket Professor in Pediatric Nursing at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is being honored by the Eastern Nursing Research Society with the 2017 Distinguished Contributions to Nursing Research Award.
Medoff-Cooper is being recognized for her sustained and outstanding contributions to nursing research focused on infant development, feeding behaviors in high-risk infants, and infant temperament. Her innovations have changed the way premature and chronically ill infants are cared for to help improve their developmental progress. Her research has been recognized around the world thanks to funding from organizations like the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).
Medoff-Cooper graciously accepted the award as reported by Newswise.com, stating:
“It is a great honor to be recognized by the Nursing research community. My goal, and of course my passion, has always been to improve outcomes for vulnerable infants and their families. I share this award with the many families who have participated in my research projects over the past 30 plus years.”
The Eastern Nursing Research Society will honor Medoff-Cooper at their annual conference in Philadelphia on April 7. To learn more about Medoff-Cooper and her distinguished pediatric research, visit here.
As part of a joint initiative between the Pennsylvania Action Coalition (PA-AC) and The Vizient/AACN Nurse Residency Program, over 40 Pennsylvania hospitals will participate in the Pennsylvania Nurse Residency Collaborative (PA-NRC). Recommendation that nursing programs create nursing residencies was introduced in the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing Report, and Pennsylvania is the third state to implement a nurse residency program at the state level.
Developed by Vizient, Inc. and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the Nurse Residency Program was developed to ease nurse transition from the classroom to the clinical practice setting in order to promote quality, safety, and reduce turnover rates among first-year nurses. According to BusinessWire.com, PA-AC Executive Director Sarah Hexem says,
“Nurses want more resources and training focused on leadership, patient outcomes, and professional development, and now Pennsylvania hospitals are leading the way in training for new nurses. This training will empower nurses with evidence-based resources that will improve patient care and better welcome nurses to the clinical setting.”
PA-NRC will be welcoming 40 hospitals to participate in the first year of the program, including early adopters in addition to several new hospitals and health systems. The Nurse Residency Collaborative will also be beneficial to the rural hospitals in the state which require greater resources to meet the training capacity offered by their urban competitors.
The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has appointed two inaugural Penn Nurse Innovation Fellows:
Jennifer Pinto-Martin, PhD, MPH – Viola MacInnes/Independence Professor of Nursing, a Professor of Epidemiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Executive Director of the Center for Public Health Initiatives
Leah Moran, MSN, RN – Nurse Manager for the Cardiac Intermediate Care Unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
The fellowship is intended to support nursing faculty by developing an intellectual foundation in innovation methodology and gaining expertise in testing new approaches to health care delivery and improved patient outcomes. Formally launched this month, the fellowship is a collaboration between Penn Nursing, Penn Medicine’s Center for Health Care Innovation (CHCI), and the Penn Health System Department of Nursing.
Innovation Fellows are expected to learn new techniques for testing ideas faster at lower costs, enabling them to drive change in health care at local, state, and national levels. Fostering multidisciplinary collaboration, fellows will work directly with designers, developers, and innovation specialists over the course of a semester. Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, says,
“Nurses are natural innovators. The opportunity to embed Fellows within the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation provides opportunities to not only learn different approaches – but also to provide patient and family perspectives to on-going work within the Center.”
After learning about cultural diversity by reading a nursing textbook, five nursing students from Pennsylvania College of Technology got to go out and experience diversity firsthand. Participating in a study abroad course, students traveled to the small town of Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala to treat patients in a medical clinic for seven days.
The Penn College students were led by Christine B. Kavanagh, the instructor of nursing programs, and accompanied by a larger volunteer group from Glens Falls Medical Mission. Glens Falls is based in New York and leads weekly trips to the small Guatemala community twice a year to help patients who live two hours away from the nearest hospital.
During their weeklong stint at the medical clinic, the group of volunteers saw over 1,300 patients by communicating through translators. They practiced in five clinical areas including triage, dental, pediatrics, women’s health, and general medicine, providing basic screenings, treatments, medical education, fluoride for dental care, and referrals to outside specialists when needed. Students were amazed by the positivity exuded by their patients who experience a wide variety of issues, not just medical.
Penn College offers a variety of study abroad courses, but this was the first time nursing students participated in a trip. After a successful mission, they hope to offer the course and service trip to nursing students every fall. In addition to the nursing trip, Penn College also offers a course in providing dental hygiene education in the Dominican Republic.