Research

No doubt, our numbers are impressive. The number of studies we’ve conducted and the papers, presentations and posters we’ve shared as a result, show that Sentara Healthcare is dedicated to innovation backed by evidence-based research. But we don’t embrace research to impress our colleagues: We do so to improve healthcare for our patients and communities.
Some of our proudest moments resulting from this research last year include:

Attracting new patients to lifesaving screening tests by first understanding cultural barriers: Sentara-Eastern Virginia Medical School collaboration grant

Sentara nurses received the only principal investigator Sentara-Eastern Virginia Medical School collaboration grant, a $10,000 grant usually awarded to physicians. The funds are being used to look at our Northern Virginia mobile van clinic and Hispanics’ and Latinos’ healthcare decision-making related to fatalism and machismo/machisma.

Minimizing discomfort for patients and stop accidental exposure to disease for nurses: Peripheral Intravenous Catheter study

Sentara RMH Medical Center and Sentara CarePlex Hospital’s involvement in this study marks the first time Sentara nurses have led their own randomized control trial at Sentara. Three types of IV catheters are under consideration — an open system and two closed systems. Nurses at Sentara RMH Medical Center initiated the study concept because a number of patients expressed concerns about open systems. After considering evidence-based research, our nurses confirmed that previous research pointed toward close systems being superior; their current, firsthand research will determine Sentara’s future practices

Meeting today’s patients’ needs while preventing nurse burnout:
Patient Acuity Nursing Tool (PANT)

Limitations lead to improvements, if caring people are paying attention. In the past, Sentara nurses didn’t have a proven method for determining the quantity of care in nurse hours required by particular patients in real time. Instead, we looked at last year in retrospect and applied a formula that is case-mix based to create our staffing grids for the present day — which may or may not have been an appropriate match.

A Sentara Leigh Hospital nurse working toward her bachelor’s at Sentara College of Health Sciences sparked an idea: A real-time analysis to predict up-to-date nursing needs in staffing hours and other resources more accurately. She launched her study three years ago on two medical/surgical units at Sentara Leigh Hospital; nurse teams developed an algorithm after painstakingly determining the time and staff needed for various nursing interventions. They linked calculations into Epic, our medical record system, and we now automatically review the last 12 hours of each patient’s care in terms of nursing interventions and consider the upcoming 12 hours based on patient care orders. From there, we can divvy up nurses among patients to meet each patient’s needs.
Units beyond medical/surgical floors will soon benefit from PANT as they begin the same process of calculating the hours needed for nurse intervention procedures they encounter and applying the results to nurse assignments. We’ll share PANT outside of our Sentara walls soon, with four papers in the works for publication.

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