Nursing course informs international audience about science of care

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Nursing course informs international audience about science of care
Jul 272015
 

The East Carolina University College of Nursing’s first Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, attracted a global audience of more than 700 to learn about the science behind caring.

Drawing primarily nursing professionals, the course enrollment included students from Australia, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Two Iranian university educators attempted to take the course but were blocked due to U.S. trade sanctions. Course organizers are working with ECU’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance to request permission to teach them the course through email.

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Using reflective journaling, YouTube videos and online discussion boards as their primary teaching strategies, course developers anticipated possible language barriers. Participants were encouraged to use Google Translate as well as digital art to keep the dialogue going on the message boards. By the course’s end, there were more than 2,000 discussion board postings.

“It’s been a magical experience to have so many people talk about the simple concept of caring and what it means to care across varied disciplines, languages, and cultures,” said Kathleen Sitzman, professor of nursing at ECU and lead instructor for the MOOC.

The course provided tools to help professionals implement “caring science,” a practice that is meant to support a healthy life through the use of intentional caring toward self and others. In a clinical setting, actions based in caring science include mindfully connecting with patients on a human level and not just seeing them as a “case,” being open to and supportive of patients’ expression of feelings, and actively cultivating compassion and loving kindness in daily work activities. The course also explored the idea of mindfulness practice, in which a person focuses on what is happening right now rather than what has been or may be.

These practices have been shown to increase positive patient outcomes, Sitzman said.

“Patients tend to perceive the quality of care and of the contact they engaged in as more positive when interacting with people who practice caring science,” Sitzman said. “There is also evidence that it increases employee satisfaction and retention as well as patient satisfaction.”

Sitzman’s motivation for offering a MOOC was to make the course accessible to anyone, anywhere. Aside from nursing, enrollees work in health care administration, personal training, social work, teaching, sales, mental health, engineering, mediation and hospitality.

For more than 20 years, Sitzman has worked with Jean Watson, founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute and dean emerita of the University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing. They collaborate to develop knowledge about engaged professional caring, and conveying and sustaining caring in online classrooms.

Sitzman’s 2014 book, co-authored with Watson, shared its name with the online course – “Caring Science, Mindful Practice” – and was required reading for the MOOC students. The book’s publisher is currently translating the title into Chinese.

Held June 8 to July 6, the course was presented in partnership with the Watson Institute and Utah’s Weber State University.

Sitzman plans to offer “Caring Science, Mindful Practice,” again later this year. Visit www.canvas.net or contact sitzmank@ecu.edu for more information about the course.

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Navigating the system through patients’ eyes

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on Navigating the system through patients’ eyes
Jul 162015
 

Paige Driver

Paige Driver

AMA Wire Spotlight on Innovation post by Paige Driver, a second-year medical student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

At 6 a.m. on a Friday, most medical students are donning their white coats and heading to the hospital or a medical office practice to learn how to navigate the health care system through the eyes of physicians. However, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University had a different idea for their first group of student leaders in a new program—to try navigating the system through the eyes of patients.

Five students from the Brody School of Medicine’s inaugural cohort of Leaders in INovative Care (LINC) Scholars program (including me) spent a day this summer shadowing patients’ entire experiences in a variety of health care settings to observe them navigating the very complex system of Vidant Medical Center and the school’s outpatient clinics.

I shadowed a patient in pediatric outpatient surgery, from parking the car to driving away, and I believe the exercise was integral to learning about patient-centered care and patient safety.

Most medical students have had the good fortune of never having been the patient, so we can’t expect to understand that experience. We will never truly achieve patient-centered care without putting ourselves in the shoes of a patient and family and getting lost in the system with them a time or two.

We used a module from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, “A Guide to Shadowing: Seeing Care Through the Eyes of Patients and Families,” to guide our experience. We presented our findings from these experiences, including recommendations for improving the care experience, at a session that included patient advisors from Vidant Medical Center who provided additional patient perspectives on navigating health care settings.

“The future success of health care improvement for all is tied to every participant’s understanding of just how much trust and mutual engagement plays a role in patient healing,” said Henry Skinner, a retired businessman and active patient advisor with the school. “Thanks for allowing us to participate and observe the awakening of five bright new minds to the world of participative care.”

The first LINC Scholars cohort is taking a summer immersion course that provides a deep dive into the principles of patient safety, quality improvement, population health and team-based care. At the end of our fourth year of medical school, we’ll take the National Association for Healthcare quality’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality exam and will graduate with a distinction in health care transformation and leadership.

The LINC Scholars program is part of East Carolina University’s REACH initiative.

Published courtesy of AMA Wire

College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation
Jul 102015
 

The East Carolina University College of Nursing has received 10 years of accreditation, the maximum granted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The accreditation follows an extensive self-study and fall 2014 site visit, and applies to ECU’s baccalaureate, master’s and post-master’s certificate, and doctor of nursing practice programs. sim229

The DNP program, established in 2013, received the maximum five years allowed for programs undergoing initial accreditation. All of the ECU programs assessed met CCNE’s four accreditation standards and with no recommendations for changes.

“We are pleased to receive such a strong endorsement of the outstanding ongoing work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “The accreditation process itself was a team effort by every member of the college, both faculty and staff. We owe a special thanks to our taskforce for their extensive work in coordinating and collecting information for the self-study.”

The College of Nursing, which has been accredited since 1964, has more than 8,500 alumni and prepares the most new nurses of any institution in the state. It provides three pathways for nurses to earn their bachelor of science in nursing: the traditional BSN program, an accelerated second-degree option for students who already have a baccalaureate degree in another major, and the RN to BSN option for students who already have their two-year nursing degree and want to earn their BSN.

The college offers seven options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, neonatal clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthesia, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery. The midwifery program, which is the only program of its kind in North Carolina, undergoes accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. The nurse anesthesia also undergoes a process with a specialized accrediting body, with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

The doctor of nursing practice program offers a BSN to DNP option for students with an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner focus. It also provides a post-master’s DNP option for advanced practice registered nurses. The college’s doctor of philosophy in nursing program prepares nurse scientists, with entry points for students who have their BSN, MSN or DNP.

A report provided by CCNE following the site-visit noted that testimonials from both students and community partners demonstrated the excellent quality of the college’s faculty. The accreditors also praised college staff, including the business and administrative affairs office, technology support, concept integration labs, student development and counseling, student services and marketing offices.

“The feedback we received from the accreditation team was stellar and the dedication of our faculty and staff was clearly evident,” Brown explained. “It takes a village to create such a positive learning environment for our students.”

The ECU College of Nursing is also designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, an honor bestowed on just 35 schools nationwide for outstanding achievements in student learning and professional development.

ECU Physicians recognized for exceptional use of digital records

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on ECU Physicians recognized for exceptional use of digital records
Jul 012015
 
ECU Physicians’ online patient portal, MyChart, allows individuals like ECU student Summer Tillman, pictured above using the MyChart web site, to access their health care team electronically.

ECU Physicians’ online patient portal, MyChart, allows individuals like ECU student Summer Tillman, pictured above using the MyChart web site, to access their health care team electronically.

The clinical practice of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University has been recognized for significantly improving patient care through the use of their electronic medical record system.

ECU Physicians was recently awarded nearly $2.2 million by the federal government for demonstrating “meaningful use” of their EMR system during 2014. This designation means that every eligible ECU health care provider exceeded dozens of specific quality measures set forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency that governs the use of digital health records in the U.S.

“This demonstrates that we’re using our EMR to its fullest potential to achieve greater transparency with the patient,” said Dr. Tommy Ellis, chief medical informatics officer for ECU Physicians.

“It means we’re communicating better, which leads to better data collection, which ultimately leads to better health outcomes,” Ellis said. “The only way we’re going to improve the health status of the citizens of eastern North Carolina is to improve how we collect health data from individual patients.”

Ellis said the $2.2 million award will be used to offset the cost of EMR implementation throughout ECU Physicians. This payment brings the total amount of federal stimulus payments earned by ECU Physicians to just over $8.6 million since the Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs were launched by the U.S. government in 2011. The goal of these programs is to encourage medical practices and hospitals serving Medicare and Medicaid patients to convert from paper charts to digital records.

“What we’re hearing from our colleagues elsewhere is that we’re the only organization in North Carolina to achieve this level of success with our electronic medical records system,” Ellis said. “Despite the initial headaches involved with implementing an EMR, our people stepped up to the task and have made it second-nature.”

He said the effective use of electronic medical records immediately improves the quality and safety of patient care. It empowers patients and their family members to take an active role in managing their own health because they have easy access to real-time information including lab results and treatment plans.

It also increases efficiency, Ellis said. When a patient’s data can be shared accurately and quickly between doctors and hospitals, it eliminates unnecessary duplication of tests and procedures, helps providers diagnose problems earlier and improves the coordination of care.

The ultimate goal of electronic medical records is better clinical outcomes and improved population health, Ellis said.

“This ‘meaningful use’ achievement represents a lot of hard work by many people,” said Dr. Nicholas Benson, medical director of ECU Physicians. “It validates that ECU Physicians is making the most out of our investment in EMR.”

Ellis said ECU Physicians is on track to earn the maximum incentive for 2015, and that the free online patient portal, MyChart, will play an increasingly important role to that end in coming months.

“It’s another way to improve the patient’s access to their health care provider, which strengthens the patient-provider relationship,” Ellis said. “Engaged, informed people take better care of themselves, which lowers health care costs.”

He explained that MyChart allows patients to send and receive secure messages to their health care team from their computer, tablet or smartphone, to view their test results and medication lists, to request appointments and refill prescriptions and to receive reminders about preventive and health maintenance issues like flu shots and mammograms.

More than 26,000 ECU Physicians patients are using MyChart, with an average of more than 50 new users signing up daily.

Today about three-fourths of the country’s medical practices and hospitals use electronic records, motivated in part by the federal health law tying Medicare reimbursements to how successful providers are at getting and keeping patients healthy. At the end of 2014, all ECU clinics were using the practice’s current EMR, created by the software company Epic.

Although it’s difficult to quantify the dollar amount saved by “going paperless,” Ellis said, “theoretically, the quicker you can get your hands on more information, the better decisions you can make, and in a more timely manner – which is cost-saving for patients and for health systems.”

Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Scott inducted as fellow in National Academies of Practice
Jun 232015
 

Dr. Elaine Scott, associate professor and director of the East Carolina University Ph.D. program in nursing, has been inducted as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the Nursing Academy of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

At a gala honoring inductees, from left: Dr. Evelyn Clingerman, vice chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Dr. Joanne Singleton, chair of the National Academy of Practice in Nursing; Scott; and Dr. Satya Verma, president of the National Academies of Practice.

Scott was elected for fellowship based on her significant and enduring educational and research contributions to practice. Her research interests center around the concepts of leadership development and theory, transitions in practice, and patient outcomes, as well as organizational and interprofessional behavior. Most of her scholarship has focused on advancing clinical leadership capacity, new graduate transition and managing change.

Scott, a faculty member of the ECU College of Nursing since 2005, also is the founding director of the ECU-based East Carolina Center for Nursing Leadership. She is the past director of the college’s nursing leadership concentration. She is a member of the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame and a past recipient of ECU’s Scholar-Teacher Award. Prior to entering academia, Scott worked for 20 years in a variety of clinical and administrative roles, including as founder and president of a regional home health care organization in North Carolina.

The National Academies of Practice is a nonprofit organization with membership representing 14 health care professions willing to advise governmental bodies on health care. Fellows, who are elected by their peers, must have an exemplary career of 10 years or more, and be committed to interprofessional practice and accessible, affordable health care for all.