Inspired by Marianne Chulay, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN, guest speaker at the 2010 Research!Louisville nursing conference, the Institute for Nursing led an effort to implement a research mentor model for nursing at Norton Healthcare. Jill Berger, R.N., spearheaded the effort to establish a framework and support system for nursing research in all the hospitals and to generate clinical nursing studies conducted by direct care nurses. With the help of expert research nurses from within and outside Norton Healthcare, the model began to take shape. In the model, nurse mentors in each of the hospitals work with groups of nurses on the units to develop a research question and create a project. Mentors are supported by research advisers to help them navigate the research design, proposal and implementation processes.
In 2011, nurse leaders at Kosair Children’s Hospital and Norton Hospital agreed to pilot the new model. The result is the initiation of three unit-based projects at Kosair Children’s and one at Norton Hospital, all led by clinical nurse specialist mentors. Research advisers are assigned to each hospital: Jill Berger, R.N., for Norton Hospital and Norton Brownsboro Hospital; Linda Zapp, R.N., for Kosair Children’s; Paul Clark, R.N., for Norton Suburban Hospital; and Nancy York, a professor at Bellarmine University, for Norton Audubon Hospital. There also is a Nursing Research Advisory Council, which includes representation from the Norton Healthcare Office of Research Administration, Human Resources, and the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University schools of nursing, to provide additional support, establish policy and answer
The institute helps nurses present their work professionally to audiences outside Norton Healthcare. Nurses who conduct research studies or engage in quality improvement or performance improvement projects are encouraged to share their experiences in writing, through publication or through poster and podium presentations. The institute has expertise in this field and is available to help nurses write abstracts or manuscripts, create posters or polish presentations. In 2011, nurses from all five hospitals took advantage of
this consultation service, and Norton Healthcare was well-represented at several local, statewide and national conferences. In fact, the Kentucky Organization of Nursing Leaders awarded all four of its poster prizes, a total of $2,050, to Norton Healthcare nurses, and all four posters had creative or consultative help from the Institute for Nursing.
Internally, nursing participated for the first time in the Norton Healthcare Research Retreat sponsored by the Norton Healthcare Office of Research Administration. The research mentor model and several nursing research studies were presented to an audience of nurses, physicians and research coordinators. The peer review process was expanded this year to include nurse leaders in all the hospitals and Norton Cancer Institute. Nurses, for the first time, had the opportunity to provide feedback to their leaders about their leadership performance, and leaders were able to receive direct and specific feedback from their direct reports.