|Associate professor mentors
St. Joseph Hospital nurses on how to conduct research studies.
December 15, 2005
by Mimi Ko Cruz
There’s a new thermometer
on the market, one that claims to obtain accurate
temperature readings with a simple swipe of the forehead.
But, does it work with feverish children?
Emergency room nurses at St. Joseph Hospital
want to know, because if it does, it could replace oral,
under-arm and rectal thermometers. Rectal thermometers
often are used on babies and are considered the most accurate
readers of temperature. Dana Rutledge, associate nursing
professor, is helping the St. Joseph nurses figure out
the answer by devising a study that will test the new temporal
artery thermometer against the rectal thermometer.
“We make clinical decisions based
on temperatures, and if this works, it would be an ideal
way to take temperatures, especially kids temperatures,” said
Rutledge, who spends one day each week at St. Joseph Hospital
helping nurses excel in their research endeavors under
an agreement between Cal State Fullerton and the hospital.
“This kind of contract is very common
on the East Coast and it’s considered good,” explained
Rutledge, “because you get teachers connected to
the reality of the nursing profession.”
‘Nurses who reflect upon their practice and think about what it is based
upon make better clinical decisions, and this, in turn, leads to better patient
Rutledge began working with St. Joseph’s
nurses last year. She has created journal clubs made up
of nurses from different units who meet regularly to review
nursing research and determine if study findings are worthy
of a trial. The intensive care unit nurses, for example,
have reviewed research that deals with weaning patients
off ventilators through trials such as altering respirator
settings and medications, and have begun implementing specific
findings in an effort to help patients get back to breathing
on their own.
As part of her work at the hospital in Orange,
Rutledge is reviewing clinical narratives written by the
nurses to see if they reflect a theory that emphasizes
caring in nursing as a way to help patients get better
“We’re looking for evidence
of caring behaviors as viewed through the Watson model,” Rutledge
said. “Nurses write about their interactions with
patients and reflect on how they made a difference....A
special bond exists between patient and nurse and there
are certain things nurses can do to promote caring.”
Rutledge “has created awareness of
evidence-based nursing practice and research and empowered
the staff nurses to conduct nursing research and ask, ‘Are
we doing the best for our patients based on literature
and outcomes,’” said Patti Aube, St. Joseph
Hospital’s director of education.
With Rutledge’s guidance, the nurses
are gaining valuable knowledge that helps them improve
patient care, Aube added.
“Nurses who reflect upon their practice
and think about what it is based upon make better clinical
decisions, and this, in turn, leads to better patient outcomes,” Rutledge
said. “Nurses who seek the best evidence for practice
can make a difference.”
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