Nursing Research in Action

Good nursing is reliant on good research scholarship. Faculty at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing pursue research in order to guide health care policy, change perceptions and improve the lives of people across demographics. For three such faculty, endowed professorships recognize their original contributions to nursing and support their research endeavors.

A Focus on Simulation in Graduate Nursing Education

Alison Davis, PhD, RN, CHSE, received the Sister Henrietta Guyot Professorship in Nursing to support her research on nursing education and high-fidelity simulation. The professorship helped increase the number of scenario-based high-fidelity simulations in the graduate nursing curricula. Dr. Davis studied whether or not that increase would positively impact the ability of graduate students to apply simulated knowledge to their practice.

Three simulation scenarios were developed for this project, including: a malignant hypothermia scenario, a cannot-intubate and cannot-ventilate scenario, and an amniotic fluid embolism scenario.

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“I am still analyzing data from the research, but I hope to determine how these simulations enhanced student satisfaction with learning, and increased their knowledge and their confidence in managing those scenarios,” Dr. Davis says.

Dr. Davis’ research is important to nursing education for a variety of reasons, including enhanced preparation for on-the-job requirements and patient safety.

“Patient safety is a priority for every nurse. High-fidelity simulation is a safe learning environment where students can practice skills and clinical situations that do not occur frequently in practice, but have negative safety outcomes if not handled properly or in a timely manner, in some cases,” Dr. Davis says.

Delving into Parkinson’s Disease

Laura Bonanno, PhD, DNP, CRNA, received the Tucker H. Couvillon, III Professorship for Nursing Research in Parkinson’s Disease. Her focus is twofold: to provide a resource manual to patients with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, and to provide guidance to anesthesia providers on the perioperative management of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“The Parkinson’s patient population is growing and there are very unique considerations regarding the pharmacologic management of these patients, specifically when they are undergoing general anesthesia,” Dr. Bonanno says.A clip board in a green circle

Her research is ongoing and includes collaboration with two DNP nurse anesthesia students, Michelle Hellmers and Jarrett Gilliam, to develop an anesthesia protocol for the perioperative management of patients with Parkinson’s disease as well as high-fidelity simulation training for nurse anesthesia students. The protocol was presented to certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) at a local hospital, where it was implemented for patients with Parkinson’s disease who were undergoing surgical procedures. In addition, Dr. Bonanno conducted a focus group with patients and caregivers to determine gaps in resources currently available related to Parkinson’s disease.

Working to Prevent Violent Patient Behavior

Marsha Bennett, DNS, APRN, CNE, received the St. Charles General Hospital Auxiliary Professorship in Nursing for her work in reducing aggressive and violent behavior of behavioral health unit patients directed toward staff. The professorship is a research-oriented project that uses both implementation science and research. Her research focuses on characterizing patients who engage in this behavior and developing an evidence-based approach to reducing this behavior.

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“Aggressive and violent behaviors not only pose a risk to nurses and other staff, but also to the aggressive and violent patient

and to the entire patient population on the units,” Bennett says. “Studies estimate that between 30% and 76% of psychiatric staff have experienced a violent assault at some point in their career. For health care organizations and staff, violent episodes involving patients can bring about medical expenses, potential legal expenditure, sick leave and a high turnover rate.”

An application of her research-based approach resulted in a more than 9% drop in aggressive and violent behavior in patients on behavioral health units at a tertiary care hospital. The characterization study is expected to begin later in 2020.

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