Meredith Green was selected to participate in the Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy conducted by Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing. Photo courtesy of NWA Media
Nursing Student’s Project to Benefit Her Patients
University of Arkansas student Meredith Green and her mentor Carla Rider, director of nursing in Women’s and Infant Services at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, are working on a project that will likely save lives of women and babies in Northwest Arkansas.
Green wears two nursing caps, one as a graduate student working on a Master of Science in Nursing from the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing and the other as clinical educator for Women’s Services at Washington Regional Medical Center. She also earned her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Arkansas. This past spring, Green was selected to participate in the Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy conducted by Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing.
Green has worked as a Registered Nurse at the hospital since she graduated in 2007 and was promoted to clinical educator two years later.
“One of my responsibilities at the hospital is to introduce evidence-based care into our patient-care area,” Green explained.
She also teaches classes to staff members as well as mentoring them. She performs needs assessments in the unit and implements unit-specific education marathons.
She applied for the Sigma Theta Tau program because it would help her reach her goal of developing a course to teach nursing staff advanced cardiovascular life support techniques specifically for emergencies that may occur in the hospital’s obstetrics unit. The Sigma Theta Tau program focuses on mentorship, and Green is working on the project with Rider, who is her supervisor at the hospital.
“Pregnant patients experience many changes in their bodies that are different from the traditional adult patient,” Green said. “That is why it’s so important that we provide a standardized and organized approach in caring for a patient undergoing an obstetrical emergency. Those seconds in deciding what to do can make a huge impact in neonatal and maternal status.”
The course Green will develop with Rider’s guidance sets several objectives as part of the overall goal of “improving patient outcomes.” These include improving nursing competence and confidence, decreasing human errors and decreasing response time to emergencies. What Green calls an “environment of standardization” is also important such as establishing a common vocabulary to use during an emergency so that no precious time is lost in communication.
Some of the more common emergencies Green termed high risk and low volume that occur in obstetric units nationwide are shoulder dystocia, operative vaginal delivery, postpartum hemorrhage, uterine rupture and prolapsed umbilical cord.
“The current practice in women’s services nationwide does not include training in (advanced cardiovascular life support),” Green said. “By developing and implementing ACLS with OB Emergent Drill Practicums, we will achieve 100 percent staff involvement and competency validation at Washington Regional. The staff will learn and practice advanced procedures for maternal resuscitation as well as procedures for obstetrical emergencies.”
Nurses will practice the emergency procedures during a series of scenarios so that, if such an emergency should arise, they will know exactly what to do, step by step, Green said. She plans to survey the nurses to determine whether their confidence and competence increase with the new knowledge, as expected.
“This will improve maternal child care and outcomes across the spectrum,” she said.
Sigma Theta Tau representatives will visit the hospital two times to review the project in operation during the 18-month-long academy. Green attended a leadership workshop in Indianapolis in June. She will present information from her project at the Sigma Theta Tau Biennial Convention in 2014.
“The workshop was a very energized, information-packed seminar that set Carla's and my project on the pathway to success,” Green said. “The mentorship provided by the Sigma Theta Tau International program will prove valuable not only in this project, but throughout my career.”
The Master of Science in Nursing program in the College of Education and Health Professions graduated its first class in 2007. It started with one emphasis on clinical nurse specialists and now offers a second concentration, in nurse education. It’s offered online through the UA’s Global Campus but includes a clinical practice requirement, too.
Three of the graduates of the first M.S.N. class also work at Washington Regional and were successful in implementing a program called Team Response to Extremes they developed as graduate students. The T-REX system allows nurses to determine more quickly that a patient’s condition is deteriorating before it reaches a crisis point.