Nursing students’ research chosen for national conference

SUNY Upstate College of Nursing research

Four students in the Upstate College of Nursing master's level Clinical Nurse Specialist program will present their research at a national conference in Texas. From left, Maureen Hartmann, Heather Waldau, Ann Hendrickson and Meraedith Lange. Photo by Debbie Rexine.

Four students in Upstate’s master’s level Clinical Nurse Specialist program have been selected to present their research at a national conference in San Antonio, Texas this week.

Maureen Hartmann, Ann Hendrickson, Meraedith Lange and Heather Waldau will present posters at the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists conference, “The CNS: Leading Innovations for Health Care Change.”

The conference will highlight innovations and change led by Clinical Nurse Specialists – Registered Nurses with master’s degrees who are clinical experts in a particular specialty.

Here’s a look at the four students and their projects:

Maureen Hartmann, RN BS 

Improving Discharge Teaching for Patients with Diabetes after Open Heart Surgery: A CNS Led Innovation

Diabetics represent 25-30% of the patients who undergo cardiac surgery. Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) before and after surgery is associated with increased complications, especially wound infections in the sternum. Adequate glycemic control can prevent this, reducing readmission rates, additional surgery and pain and suffering. Diabetes self-management must continue after discharge.

While glycemic control is well understood by ICU nurses, the transition to outpatient management of diabetes is more difficult. The literature shows that nurses may have expertise as cardiac surgical nurses, but frequently lack knowledge about diabetes management — and the confidence to teach patients self-management. A survey of nurses in the cardiothoracic unit led to a series of educational activities designed to increase nurses’ knowledge of the outpatient management of diabetes and improve their ability to access available patient education resources.

Meraedith Lange, RN BSN 

Increasing and Improving Communication Through Interdisciplinary Rounds

Interdisciplinary Rounds is a way to gather the team at one time and share information the whole team needs to know and develop a plan on.  With all the key players in one spot at one time, many issues and concerns can be addressed.  This will reduce the amount of time spent later tracking people down to get answers.  With everyone at rounds, important information is not lost.

The purpose of this project is to improve communication and develop an integrated plan of care to improve patient outcomes.  Communication is key to successful teamwork and to generating an efficient plan of care.  The CNS is important in facilitating the process of integrating the different disciplines into one team.  Improving communication among the team will identify problems early, decrease length of stay, reduce errors and improve patient outcomes.

Ann Hendrickson, RN BSN 

CNS: Leading Innovations for Health Care Change: Developing and Implementing an Evidence Based Nurse-Driven Mobility Protocol

Ann developed a “mobility protocol” for older adult patients that she is piloting on a medical unit at Upstate University Hospital. “Let’s Get Moving:  Making Strides Toward Wellness” involved approximately 300 patients. At the onset of the four-month project, Ann collected data on patient hospital length of stay, as well as data on patients’ functional abilities (eating, bathing, dressing, walking) when they were admitted and when they were discharged.

After introducing the mobility protocol to nurses on the pilot unit, she began collecting functional abilities data on patients—who are getting up and moving, independently or with help, at least 25 feet three times a day.  She plans to present her findings to hospital administrators.

Heather Waldau, RNC, EFM-c, BSN, IBCLC 

Why Not Formula? A CNS Change

Heather developed a breastfeeding teaching in-service using 10 stations to educate providers to teach patients in a consistent manner.  All employees, including physicians and nurses from all units in Maternal-Child Nursing and the outpatient clinics, were educated on breastfeeding according to Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Standards.

The goal was to provide consistent patient teaching by all nurses from Labor and Delivery, Intensive Care Nursery, and Mother Baby Units about the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of formula to comply with Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Standards.


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