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Transformational Research

Meneses KarenUAB School of Nursing nurse scientists believe that creating a healthier population has as much to do with prevention as treatment, and that education, communication and end-of-life care are just as critical as advanced technologies for treatment. An integral part of this is how straightforward the research is to translate into practice

The buzzword “high-touch” (as opposed to high-tech) was featured in a recent CNN documentary called Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare.

One of the newest outreach programs from the UAB School of Nursing— the Young Breast Cancer Survivors Network (YBCSN)—represents a marriage of high-touch and high-tech, combining internet and telephone information delivery with personal, targeted support for young survivors, their families, and their communities.

This new network grew out of sustained interprofessional research by Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, who is the associate dean for research at the School of Nursing and co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Meneses has been an oncology nurse specialist and scientist for more than 30 years. Specializing in survivorship, she had personally observed a trend toward younger breast cancer survivors.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association brought that trend to the forefront, citing a small but statistically significant increase in advanced breast cancer survivors ages 25-39 over the past three decades.

The YBCSN is developing partnerships among providers, advocates, and organizations that (1) offer pre-menopausal survivors education and support; (2) increase public and family awareness about the special needs of young survivors; and (3) facilitate networking and education by developing a website for the YBCSN.

Part of a collaborative effort directed by the School of Nursing, the YBCSN is supported by the Women’s Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

It is a prime example of how treatment and education go hand-in-hand to promote health and wellness.Marie Bakitas
Health and wellness also applies in the end of life setting, especially in terms of quality of life for the patient and their caregiver. Over the past decade, Marie A. Bakitas, DNS, APRN, FAAN, professor of nursing and Marie L. O'Koren Endowed Chair, has worked to develop Project ENABLE (Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends), a phone-based palliative care intervention for patients. Initial work has been done in an academic medical center setting and now she has received a grant from the American Cancer Society to study whether this phone-based palliative care intervention can help reduce access disparities for veterans, minorities and patients from rural areas that have advanced cancer.

Research shows that when patients with incurable cancer receive palliative care -- relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of illness -- along with regular cancer treatment, they have a better quality of life, as well as less symptoms and depression, and they may live longer. The American Cancer Society has set a nationwide objective to eliminate cancer disparities by 2015 and given that advanced cancer patients in rural areas are less likely to benefit from palliative services due to limited access and suboptimal care, Bakitas and her team believe this intervention will provide an innovative way for cancer centers in these areas to provide palliative care.

In the original ENABLE II study, a specially trained advanced practice nurse coached patients and their caregivers through a series of structured telephone sessions on topics such as problem solving, communication, symptom management and self-care, as well as medical decision-making. The participants had four weekly educational sessions and monthly follow-up sessions. In the June 2009 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Bakitas and colleagues published conclusive findings on Project ENABLE’s effectiveness at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in New Hampshire, its affiliated outreach clinics and a Veteran’s Affairs medical center in Vermont. They now want to know if the intervention can be as effective for patients and their caregivers from rural areas, outside the reach of an academic medical center.

The project is targeting four communities representing rural geography and/or ethnic and racial diversity: Birmingham, Ala. (Birmingham VA Medical Center); Grand Rapids, Mich.; Spartanburg, SC.; and Bangor, Maine. Project teams at each site will work together over the next four years to tailor ENABLE to their individual communities.

The short-term goal is to learn the best way to bring palliative care services to patients and families to improve care and quality of life, as well as reduce the burden of cancer in these four communities and develop a toolkit that can be used to implement the model. The project’s long-term goal is to make this project accessible to patients and family members in other non-academic community cancer centers across the country.

There are a variety of ways your philanthropic support can impact these translational research projects and the many others like them in the School of Nursing. Helping the School endow chairs or professorships, as well as program support funds, give you the opportunity to join us in continuing to lead the way in translational nursing research. Sponsorships are available for clinically based research initiatives and for innovative programs to support and sustain the transformation of nursing’s workforce. You also can help expand research and teaching space for the nurses and nurse scientists today and in the future. For more information on how you can impact the health and quality of life of people around the globe, contact the UAB School of Nursing Office of Development and Alumni Relations.


Impacting the Workforce

amnp2The School of Nursing’s innovative programs of teaching, research and service lay the foundation for quality nurses and nurse scientists who from the beginning positively impact the workforce and the quality of care patients receive.

One such program is the Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP). It provides an option for students who have a bachelor's degree or higher in a field other than nursing and are not registered nurses to pursue a nursing degree. This unique category of students is eligible for master's level admission to this graduate program once prerequisite nursing foundation course requirements are met.

The program has been developed in response to the growing need for well-educated, highly skilled professionals who can manage complexity within clinical environments. Upon completion of the pre-licensure phase of the program, students apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Students may work as an RN while completing requirements for their master’s in nursing degree, which once completed, most are eligible to take a board certification exam in their chosen specialty.

Quality of care and patient safety are two of the most important tracks of research in the School of Nursing. Patient safety andPatrician Pat quality care major concern for hospitals and lapses in patient safety have been attributed to a care environment that is chaotic, turbulent, and fragmented. Poor quality nursing practice environments in hospitals have been linked to patient deaths and other negative patient and nurse outcomes.  Inadequate nurse staffing has also been linked to worse patient outcomes, however findings are not consistent across studies due to the imprecise measurements and lack of sufficient detail in available data sources. UAB School of Nursing faculty are leading the effort in assessing staffing impact on outcomes.

Patricia A. Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, Nursing Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professor in the School and retired U.S. Army colonel, has received a Tri-Service award from the U.S. Department of Defense for a two-year study to continue the analyses of the Military Nursing Outcomes Database (MilNOD) Project.

The study, “Workload Intensity, The Nursing Practice Environment, and Adverse Events” is investigating the effect of the nurse practice environment, as well as that of nursing workload intensity, on the relationship known to exist between staffing and adverse events in acute care hospitals. Working with her research team, Patrician is using previous models that predicted effects of staffing on outcomes and adding other variables (falls, falls with injury, medication administration errors, and nursing needle stick injuries) and will evaluate the possibility of both mediating and moderating effects of the practice environment. Additionally, her team will investigate whether the intensity of workload moderates the relationship between staffing and outcomes.

There are a variety of ways your philanthropic support can impact these workforce education and research programs and the others like them in the School of Nursing. Helping the School expand research and teaching space for the nurses and nurse scientists today and in the future through fulfilling the goal of an expanded building is the most transformational gift you could give to the school, its current and future students and faculty. Sponsorships are available for clinically based research initiatives and for innovative programs to support and sustain the transformation of nursing’s workforce. You also can establish endowed chairs or professorships, as well as program support funds, giving you the opportunity to join us in continuing to lead the transformation of nursing’s workforce in the 21st Century. For more information on how you can impact the health and quality of life of people around the globe, contact the UAB School of Nursing Office of Development and Alumni Relations


Improving Access and Care Delivery

  mpower clinic 06Collaboration in research and practice for better health and quality of life is one of the cornerstones of success at the UAB School of Nursing

To improve health care access and delivery for underserved people in Birmingham and central Alabama, in 2011 the School of Nursing partnered with M-POWER Ministries to create a nurse-managed PATH (Providing Access to Healthcare) Clinic, spearheaded by Cynthia Selleck, DSN, RN, FNP, associate dean for clinical affairs and partnerships.

The school recently received a three-year, $1.4 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to expand services at the clinic, located in an underserved Birmingham community. With this new funding, clinic hours have expanded, patient volume has dramatically increased, and a collaborative, team-based practice model is being fully developed. This innovative model involves interprofessional UAB faculty—as well as clinical and nonclinical providers—from nursing, social work, nutrition, optometry, medicine, informatics, and health information management. As faculty delve into the elements of high-performing teams, they serve as role models and educate their students in chronic disease management and care coordination. And as they deliver high-quality care here locally, they will be developing a model that can be translated, transforming care in other underserved communities globally.

Already, the clinic has had a powerful impact on the Birmingham community and on the UAB Health System. More than 1,500 uninsured diabetes patients received treatment at UAB Hospital in 2011, which was costly—about $70,000 per hospitalization. And because these patients lacked access to follow-up care after discharge, their health suffered, and many of them were readmitted, often multiple times. A partnership with UAB Hospital and a contribution to help support additional clinicians, supplies, and pharmaceuticals make it possible for the PATH Clinic to treat many of those patients in a more cost-effective, enterprise-wide, and personal way. Now, these patients have access to nurse practitioners and other health care professionals who see them frequently, building a relationship and educating them about lifestyle changes that will help manage their chronic disease and prevent others.Foundry-clinic-for-web

Helping the underserved and others in need of quality, convenient health care does not stop at the PATH Clinic. In mid 2013 the School of Nursing acquired the health clinic at The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center in Bessemer and began seeing patients – both residents of The Foundry and members of the community in need of health care.

The reopening of the clinic, renamed the UAB School of Nursing Foundry Clinic, was made possible through collaborative efforts of The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center, Selleck and Linda Roussel, DSN, RN, faculty in the School of Nursing. The clinic is staffed Monday through Thursday, by UAB School of Nursing certified nurse practitioners, as well as faculty members, Melanie Hallman, DNP, D’Ann Somerall, DNP, and Stephanie Hammond, MSN, and full-time medical assistant Stephanie Glasgow. Nicole Redmond, MD, a collaborating physician, and Lori Esber, a patient-care coordinator, work in the clinic. They provide primary care and urgent care for health concerns that might otherwise go untreated, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, for patients ages 14 and older. There is also an education component to the clinic for nursing students. Students in the graduate-level nurse practitioner program will work alongside the three nurse practitioners, treating patients as they complete their training

There are a variety of ways your philanthropic support can impact the health and quality of life for people in Alabama and around the world. Sponsorships are available for clinically based research initiatives and for innovative programs to support and sustain clinical outreach. You also can establish endowed chairs or professorships, as well as program, support funds. For more information on how you can impact the health and quality of life of people around the globe, contact the UAB School of Nursing Office of Development and Alumni Relations


Creative, State-of-the-Art Learning and Research Space

sim-lab-for-webFor the UAB School of Nursing to achieve its strategic priorities, we must continue to develop our assets. There are critical investments that need to be made in our students, faculty, facility improvements and special collections for this to happen.

One of the School’s most critical needs is an expanded building. Our total student body has grown more than 200 percent since 2005 and our faculty has grown by more than 100 percent. We also have more than doubled our sustained research funding since 2005 and have contributed greatly to the body of nursing knowledge. To continue leading the nursing profession in the 21st Century more has to be done and we need more space in which to continue to grow in all facets of our missions of teaching, research and service.

One of our priorities is to build an expansion with connections to a reconfigured existing School of Nursing building that will create new state-of-the-art space for effective and flexible learning, work, and research spaces. This expansion will provide needed space for faculty and student growth, both of which are projected to increase by at least 25 percent over the next five years. 

As part of this expansion we also would like to create a Center for Innovation in Nursing Education, which would house an webexecutive/professional learning enterprise, complete with state-of-the-art technologies, simulation labs, and interdisciplinary teaching space that would educate the nurses and nurse leaders of the future.  As part of the expansion we also would build interactive collaborating space for research to attract teams of the most promising nursing research faculty, and to attract highly talented, diverse doctoral and post-doctoral research fellows to UAB to help impact the most pressing health care needs of Alabamians and people around the world.

As important as the teaching, research and service provided on campus is how the School completes its mission off campus to positively impact the health of the community, state, nation and world.  One way we can do this is through passing on our wealth of health information gathered through modern times throughout the nursing profession, and the UAB School of Nursing has the voice of the founder of modern nursing at its fingertips.

Nightingale left countless gifts to her profession, including a collection of 50 letters and more preserved in the UAB Historical Collections. Copies of these are now on permanent exhibit in the School of Nursing and their reach needs to be expanded. The School is working to build programming that reinforces the fundamental health principles that Florence Nightingale pioneered and demonstrate how those principles can be used to address the most critical health issues facing our communities today, implementing a community-based research and scholarly activity that inspires and motivates current nursing students and faculty to solve health-related issues facing Alabama’s most vulnerable population groups. This effort also would increase public and family awareness of preventive measures to improve the health and well being of our city and state’s most underserved areas and communities.

There are a variety of ways your philanthropic support can impact creative, state-of-the-art teaching and research space both on and off campus. There are naming opportunities in the renovated building, from the school itself, to the atrium, a floor or research area. Sponsorships are available for innovative programs to support and sustain outreach, or you could establish endowed chairs or professorships, as well as program support funds. For more information on how you can impact of students, faculty and the community-at-large, contact the UAB School of Nursing Office of Development and Alumni Relations.


Attract the Best and Brightest Students

web studentsThe UAB School of Nursing prepares nurse leaders to excel as clinicians, researchers and educators. The School consistently ranks among the top nursing schools nationally by U.S. News & World Report for its pioneering hybrid graduate specialty programs. Similarly, the School is the leading producer of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degreed nurses in Alabama and the Southeast.

One of these nurse leaders prepared by the UAB School of Nursing making a positive impact on Alabama is Sheena Champion, MSN, ANP. Champion graduated from UAB in May 2011 and returned home to rural Wilcox County, Alabama where only three doctors serve more than 12,000 people. Champion works with Willie White, MD, at the Wilcox Medical Clinic in Camden, where her advanced training in primary care is sorely needed. Because Dr. White must divide his time between the clinic and the emergency room, any serious emergency at the hospital used to mean a two-hour wait for his clinic patients. Now Champion can care for clinic patients, consulting with White, who is within walking distance at the hospital. This is interprofessional teamwork at its best. White helps Champion understand the needs of the community and hone her assessment skills, while she, as a nurse practitioner, enables the clinic to offer better access to quality health care and improve patient outcomes.

Current students also are making tremendous impact globally. Third-year DNP student Olivia Bahemuka, MSN, RN, CTN-B, was recently awarded an Afya Bora Con¬sortium (ABC) Fellowship in Global Health Leader¬ship. She will spend a year in her native Uganda, playing a leading role in the ABC’s efforts to transform care in developing countries. “Afya bora” is Swahili for “better health.” The consortium is a partner¬ship of four American and four Afri¬can universities. Each year, it supports 16 African and four American medical and nursing graduates and public health professionals. This is the first time the ABC has allowed students outside of its eight-member schools to apply for the fellowship, which prepares trainees for leadership roles in government, the private sector, and academic health institutions in developing countries. Bahemuka came to UAB with a passion for com¬munity health and valuable experience as assistant di¬rector of nursing at an Area Health Education Center in North Carolina. She also had been leading annual trips to Uganda, where she worked on HIV/AIDS initiatives and helped establish a clinic in the Wakiso district. She said those experiences, coupled with UAB’s emphasis on research, evidence-based practice, and quality and safety, prepared her to make a contribution globally. Her ultimate goals, once she completes her fellowship and graduates, are to return to Uganda to shape health policy; to improve health-care deliv¬ery; and to enhance nursing education globally.

To continue to move nursing education forward the School must be able to competitively attract diverse, high quality undergraduate and graduate nursing students to create the nurses and nurse scientists of tomorrow – and the leaders of the future. There are opportunities for you to help create scholarships and other philanthropic funding that can provide opportunities for deserving students to pursue education and research opportunities to advance the science of nursing and improve health and quality of life of people in the state, nation and world.

Helping the School expand research and teaching space for the nurses and nurse scientists today and in the future through fulfilling the goal of an expanded building is the most transformational gift you could give to the school, its current and future students and faculty. Sponsorships are available for clinically based research initiatives and for innovative programs to support and sustain the transformation of nursing’s workforce. You also can establish endowed chairs or professorships, as well as program support funds, giving you the opportunity to join us in continuing to lead the transformation of nursing’s workforce in the 21st Century. For more information on how you can impact the best and brightest undergraduate and grate students to the School, contact the UAB School of Nursing Office of Development and Alumni Relations.