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May 8, 2017 - Improving patient care in measurable ways the topic of USA Health abstract to be presented at international convention
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nursing pic_o.jpgMOBILE, Ala. - The University of South Alabama College of Nursing and USA Health employees were recently selected to present a podium presentation at the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) 44th Biennial Convention in October. 

USA College of Nursing Faculty, Chrystal Lewis, PhD, USA Health System Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Mestas and USA Medical Center nurses Elizabeth Doll, Kortni Crook-Kennell, Victoria Maynard and Rosanna Johnson authored the abstract that was submitted to the convention for review. The conference has a rigorous blind peer review process and abstracts must receive a high score to be accepted for a podium presentation. Lewis and Mestas are scheduled to present at the conference.

An international nursing honor society, STTI presents a biennial convention, which will be held in Indianapolis Oct. 28 to Nov. 1.

“Presenting work from South Alabama at an international conference with a blinded peer review process shows the quality of work we are doing at USA Medical Center is high,” Lewis said. “It is also an incredible testament to what nursing can accomplish - we decreased patient length of stay by a full day, decreased health care costs, and increased available beds.”

According to Lewis, the abstract focuses on the benefits of the academic-practice partnership USA Medical Center has with the USA College of Nursing. Usually there are silos between the two groups, but USA has abandoned this approach to work together. As a College of Nursing faculty member, Lewis is also an adviser to two Medical Center groups: the Nursing Practice Congress (NPC) and the Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Committee. The benefit is having someone with advanced knowledge and expertise in research and evidence based practice working closely with frontline nurses to address real and practical issues they encounter.

Specifically, the presentation will showcase the work of the NPC in identifying a clinical issue that interfered with optimal patient care delivery and how the collaboration of College of Nursing faculty and multidisciplinary team members from the health system resulted in the implementation of a process improvement, which ultimately improved patient care, according to Mestas.

As a result of this nurse-initiated PI project, a Progressive Care Unit (PCU) tool is now used to determine the appropriate level of care assigned to patients upon admission and then to reassess the patients consistently in order to upgrade or downgrade their status appropriately. Because of the data collected, a business plan was written to show hospital administration the need for two additional PCU beds. The PCU is now expanded by two beds, with additional expansion under consideration.

“This is a great example of the outstanding work being accomplished by the division of nursing at the University of South Alabama Health System,” Mestas said.

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