Volume 26 Issue No.2

Summer 2012



In This Issue

Editor's Note

President's Pen

Special Corner

RIG Corner

Membership Committee Report

Doctoral Student Corner


Communications Committee

Donna Scott Tilley, Chair


Southern Connections Subcommittee

Denise Linton, Editor 


Website Subcommittee

Janice Anderson


Johnanna Hernandez


Cherri' L. Shireman, Student Representative



Melissa Batchelor Aselage, Student



Elaine Marshall, Interim Editor  

Editor's Note - Denise Linton, DNS, FNP-BC

Denise Linton, DNS, FNP-BC

I spent my summer working, vacationing, and reflecting on my contribution to nursing in the area of research. At a recent national conference that I attended, one of the speakers said "... if not you then who, if not now then when..." I took this personally and I am truly motivated to implement my program of research now. 


I would like to thank the contributors of this issue; they have provided you with information regarding how you can contribute to nursing research.


It is my hope that you will choose to do something now.


President's Pen - Patricia B Crane, PhD, RN, FAHA   

Patricia B Crane, PhD, RN, FAHA

It is hard to believe that we are half way through the summer. The abstracts for our annual conference are being reviewed and the program planning committee is hard at work getting ready for our annual conference.


This fall, SNRS will be represented at two conferences: The XIII Pan American Research Colloquium and the 2012 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research: Discovery through Innovation. Both these events are highlighting the importance of nursing research.


As I watch national news, I am amazed at the lack of representation of nursing science in the discussion regarding our nation's health. Despite major advances in our science that has directly impacted health we still do not have nursing represented on national media venues. As an organization, how can we more effectively communicate nursing science to the public? Each of you has a voice that can communicate this message at a grassroots level. Recently, I subscribed to a newsletter called "Brain Pickings". The title alone intrigued me! One message had great relevance to our organization: "5 things Every Presenter Should Know About People...." (Popova).


As we communicate what nurse researchers have and are contributing to healthcare, we should remember these tips:

  1. People learn best in 20-minute chunks: Have your message succinct and be ready to explain nursing science at any moment.
  2. Multiple sensory channels compete: Make sure your visual is not competing with your auditory. This would include slides and appearance (both visual venues).
  3. What you say is only one part of your presentation: Be aware of your posture, gestures, tone, eye contact, and other silent messages that you may be sending.
  4. If you want people to act, you have to call them to action: Be extremely clear about what you want the person (audience) to do or know.
  5. People imitate your emotions and feel your feelings: If you are passionate about nursing research your audience will 'catch' your passion.

As we approach the end of the summer, be prepared to share nursing science with your colleagues, friends, multidisciplinary partners, and others. Let the secret out! Nursing research does make a difference! Celebrate this by continuing to engage in SNRS. Early this fall (deadline October 1st), we will be calling for nominations for awards. Consider nominating one of your colleagues for these prestigious awards.



Special Feature Corner: A Senior Researcher, Mary Jo Grap PhD, RN, FAAN

Mary Jo Grap PhD, RN, FAAN

Dr. Mary Jo Grap is a Nursing Alumni Endowed Professor in the Adult Health and Nursing Systems department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research is directed toward optimizing pulmonary function in critically ill adults undergoing mechanical ventilation, including studies on airway management, prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), sedation evaluation during mechanical ventilation and recently, effect of backrest elevation on skin integrity.  


In addition, because inappropriate levels of sedation may increase duration of mechanical ventilation, the team has evaluated sedation effects in mechanically ventilated patients. In concert with this work, Dr. Grap participated in developing and testing the Richmond Agitation Sedation Scale (RASS) which has been widely used and is considered to be the first of an improved "second generation" sedation scale.


Dr. Grap's team is presently investigating the effect of backrest elevation, used to reduce VAP, on skin integrity (R01 NR010381, Grap PI) in mechanically ventilated, critically ill adults. She also serves as the Director of the VCU School of Nursing's Center for Biobehavioral Research Center of Excellence (P30 NR011403, Grap, PI) and as the Interim Associate Dean for Research. Dr. Grap serves as a research consultant and mentor for staff nurses, graduate students, and faculty in a variety of intensive care settings to improve critical care nursing practice. Her interdisciplinary research team includes respiratory therapists, physicians, biomedical engineers, basic scientists, physical therapists, and developers of critical care equipment; the team has advanced the visibility and impact of critical care nursing research to a wide audience.


When asked what advice she would give to junior researchers Dr. Grap responded:

I have 3 pieces of advice for junior researchers: (1) Find and develop a great team, and specifically a "research partner" who will push you and you can push to keep the work moving. Developing a research career in an isolated fashion is just not that much fun, working with great people, can be exhilarating and so productive! (2) Always stay close to the clinical setting and clinical problems; I believe these are the most important problems and the ones that have been so rewarding for me. Keep your clinical colleagues by your side. (3) Develop what we call at VCU an "integrated life"... in any way you can, integrate your research, with your teaching and your service activities.


Her funded work has consistently investigated clinical issues that directly affect the nursing care of patients on mechanical ventilation. Her team has focused on reducing VAP through oral care interventions and described backrest elevation and oral care practices in intensive care settings. Dr. Grap's team recently found that a single, early oral care intervention of chlorhexidine in trauma victims reduced the incidence of VAP (DoD, TSNRP, MDA-905-03-1-TS02, Grap PI).


Research Interest Group Corner: Research in Clinical Settings Research Interest Group

Chair, Heather Carter-Templeton, PhD, RN-BC

What is the Research in Clinical Settings Research Interest Group?


The purpose of the Research in the Clinical Setting Research Interest Group (RIG) is to promote excellence in research in the diverse clinical settings of our members. We are creating a group of researchers who share best practices, challenges, and celebrations in the conduct of research within the clinical setting.  


Over the past several years we have met as a group at the annual SNRS conference in order to revitalize our RIG and to discuss challenges in conducting research in the clinical setting. We welcome all SNRS members, researchers, clinicians, academicians, and students, who are interested in our area of work to join and participate in our RIG. Our hope is that we can learn from each other as we navigate and learn more about conducting research in this unique setting. 



Chair-elect, Jennifer I. Rheingans, PhD, RN

As you may know, SNRS is working to improve communication and engagement of its members throughout the year. Current members of the Research in Clinical Settings RIG will be receiving a brief online survey via email. The purpose of this survey is to help us guide the future of our RIG. Your responses can help us work to support your needs as a researcher and facilitate communication within the RIG. We encourage you to join, participate, and learn more about the Research in the Clinical Setting RIG.



Membership Committee Report: Chair, Deborah J. Jones, PhD, MS, RN

Deborah J. Jones, PhD, RN

The Membership Committee is preparing to distribute a membership survey this Fall 2012. The last membership survey was completed in 2009 and information from that survey was used to make improvements that will continue to foster nursing research. The survey will provide the membership with an opportunity to provide feedback regarding the organization, strategic initiatives, and membership services. The recent increase in the amount of funding to support SNRS grants and the strengthening of the RIG's was impelled by information obtained from the membership survey. This is an example of how your feedback counts! 


The committee is also focusing efforts on increasing visibility of the organization in the community and meeting the needs of the membership. Do not hesitate to contact your State Liaison for any member concerns, questions, or if you are interested in volunteering to serve on a committee.


Stay tuned and look out for the survey this fall, your input is invaluable!


Dr. Deborah J. Jones is Assistant Professor and Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programs at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston. Dr. Jones has been a member of SNRS since 2004 as a doctoral student and she is serving the last year of her 2nd term as Membership Chair of SNRS. Her research focus is on improving outcomes in mechanically ventilated adults through best practices. She recently received intramural funding to examine the effects of oral care on oral and systemic inflammation in mechanically ventilated adults. 





Doctoral Student Corner: Partners Investing in Nursing's Future Project and

Opportunities as a Breast Health Specialist

  Partners Investing in Nursing's Future Project

Carol Compas, PhD(c), BSN, RN, CPHQ  

Carol Compas, PhD(c), BSN, RN, CPHQ

Nationally, experts are noticing the severity of the nursing shortage and its impact on the healthcare system. Every community across the nation is facing some threat to patient safety, health care costs, and patient outcomes directly linked to the nursing shortage. A landmark event occurred in 2008 when "the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and Institute on Medicine launched a two-year initiative to respond to the need to assess and transform the nursing profession". The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health consensus report as a result of the two-year initiative in October 2010. The report developed eight recommendations for an action-oriented blueprint for nursing's future. Four critical messages were developed and can be viewed in their entirety on the IOM: The Future of Nursing report's homepage.


The RWJF teamed up with the Northwest Health Foundation to create Partners Investing in Nursing's Future (PIN) to encourage local foundations to act as catalysts in their communities to develop state-specific strategies to create and sustain stable nursing workforces related to the IOM recommendations. The national PIN project, through state foundations, works in collaboration with partners such as state workforce investment boards, hospitals, educational institutions, trade associations, and others, to explore an array of initiatives that meet their community's specific needs.


The Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF) is the foundation that supports funding for the Arkansas PIN project. Our state PIN project, "Implementation of the Arkansas Nursing Educational Pipeline" addresses one of the action-imperatives articulated by the RWJF and IOM report that nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression. The goal of our project is to encourage nurses to achieve higher levels of education by implementing "pipeline" recruitment and support programs for LPNs, AD, and Diploma-prepared RNs from Long-Term Care (LTC) settings into baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs throughout the state of Arkansas.


The Arkansas PIN project targets nursing workforce needs specific to nursing homes, assisted livings, home health agencies, and hospice organizations under the LTC umbrella. In collaboration with ARCF as the lead for PIN, partners are working together to assess our state's geriatric care needs related to the actual LTC nursing shortage and level of academic preparation for nurses currently working in LTC. We are compiling resources to ensure the success of potential nursing students enrolled in the educational pipeline.


To learn more about the national PIN project and its relationship to your state, please visit Partners In Nursing. Additional information about the Arkansas PIN Project can be obtained by contacting Project Director Carol Compas, PhD(c), BSN, RN, CPHQ/PIN



Opportunities as a Breast Health Specialist

Sondra Bedwell, NP, PhD (c)

Sondra Bedwell, NP, PhD (c)

In Southwest Arkansas, our Komen affiliation provides grant opportunities for the advancement of early diagnosis of breast cancer. They also support education services for women in the community. Our AHEC has applied for and received grant monies to offer breast examinations, education, and mammograms free of cost to women who are underserved.


Women who qualify for the grant examination, education, and mammogram may choose to return to the clinic for their other health care needs. Building rapport with patients by focusing on preventative health care sets the stage for open communication and encourages patient involvement.


Nurse practitioners who are interested in this aspect of women's health may pursue individual excellence in this field through certification. The National Consortium of Breast Centers is one of the entities that provide this certification. This group meets annually to test and certify qualified health care providers, such as nurse practitioners, as well as to offer state of the art information at their national conference. Being certified as a breast health examiner offers a unique niche for the nurse practitioner who is attempting to build her practice.


The breast health arena may also lead to opportunities for research. Some of the possible focus areas could include understanding and evaluating the best practices for education, evaluation, diagnosis, and follow-up for application in the clinic environment.


Breast cancer is a major health concern for women. One out of seven women in the United States will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime. As a nurse practitioner and a doctoral student, this health topic can be an opportunity for clinic growth, research, and grant application.