NOVEMBER 21, 2016—Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies hosted the Washington Regional Nursing Consortium’s seventh annual Doctoral Student Research Conference this past Thursday in the Leavey Center.
The evening began with over 30 poster presentations from doctoral students and recent graduates from nursing programs around the area including Georgetown, Catholic University of America, George Mason University, George Washington University, and Marymount University.
Poster topics ranged from quality improvement in the pediatric patient with high fracture risks to fire prevention in the operating room. The posters were followed by three research presentations by Etsegenet Taye, DNP, ANP-BC, Denise H. Tola (G’16), DNP(c), MSN, CRNA, and Linda Cassar, DNP, RNC-OB.
The evening also featured a keynote address by renowned nurse leader Diana J. Mason PhD, RN, FAAN, the former editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Nursing and past president of the American Academy of Nursing, who spoke on “Transforming Research into Policy.”
History Informs Policy
Edilma Yearwood, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, chair of the Department of Professional Nursing Practice at Georgetown, led a team to plan the event.
Yearwood introduced Mason, who opened her talk with an inspirational request: “We have a rich legacy that we need to respect of nurse leaders who have transformed health care and a responsibility to learn from them and to build upon what they did.”
Mason continued by detailing the accomplishments of nurses Florence Nightingale, Lillian Wald, and Sojourner Truth. She discussed Nightingale’s role as a medical statistician to inform the public of preventable disease. She spoke of Wald’s realization of the connection between socioeconomic conditions and health. And lastly, she focused on Truth’s idea that you cannot have health without freedom.
Each of these women transformed health care and social conditions, and Mason asked the audience what were they going to transform.
Acute Care Foundation
Mason continued by displaying a pyramid of our current health care system. Acute care was at the base – preceded by “recovery care/home care,” preceded by “primary care.” Lastly, “wellness/health promotion/public health” was at the top of the pyramid.
Mason asked the audience, “If you were to design a system today, would this be what you do?”
Flipping that pyramid, according to Mason, would mean an increased focus on social services and public health and a decreased need for acute care.
Nurses’ Social Responsibility
Mason continued to discuss the importance of discerning what nurses should be researching. She focused on questions all nurse researchers should ask – what key issues do communities face, should I spend my time on those, and what evidence will help shape policy.
She emphasized that nurses have a mandate to lead as Florence Nightingale, Lillian Wald, and Sojourner Truth led.
“Sometimes it is not about research,” she said. “It is about core human values. Research is important, but don’t think that until we have the research we can’t do anything.”
Mason concluded her presentation with advice on the step after research: advocacy.
“We need to get smart about this stuff,” she said, noting this means building relationships with policymakers, involving patients in advocacy work, showcasing financial impacts, highlight public-private partnerships, and sharing views in the mass media.
“Are you prepared to lead,” she asked the audience.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in joining the Washington Regional Nursing Research Consortium, email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Annabel Schneider (NHS’17)