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Montefiore in the News

May 8, 2022

BRONX - This week marks the start of National Nurses Week, a date that was selected in honor of Florence Nightingale, a British nurse whose experiences during the Crimean War significantly advanced the quality and standards of nursing care. 

As we acknowledge this week, we not only celebrate our past and present nursing heroes, but also take delight in what is emerging as the next great evolution in nursing – formalized and academic-based nursing research careers.

Nurse researchers are nurses that ask questions about health and illness to enhance the delivery of care over a person’s lifespan. We ask scientific questions about how we deliver care and how that impacts outcomes. We ask questions about how best to screen for diseases and why diseases impact people differently. 

We also look at healthcare inequities to identify how we can reduce obstacles that may be impeding optimal care delivery. These questions and quality improvement efforts are enhancing drug discovery, identifying new tools and devices that can better equip all care providers, and are enabling us to look at new ways to improve the care of each patient who walks in through our doors.

Florence Nightingale was our very first nurse researcher. She, after years of collecting data and analyzing it all, drew many conclusions that inform healthcare as we know it, ranging from the importance of hand washing to opening windows to maximize light and ventilation. She also advocated for improving drainage to combat waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid.

Today, nursing research at Montefiore also looks at what we can be doing in our current environment to improve care. A key difference though is that we’re formalizing this practice by aligning with our academic partners, like Albert Einstein College of Medicine, to complete interdisciplinary research that will advance the practice of medicine and bring together a more resilient workforce to care for our community. 

Nursing-led research in the areas of health equity, social determinants of health screening and health promotion, will shape nursing practices for years to come. 

We are also aligning our nursing research agenda with the strategic plan just announced by the National Institute for Nursing Research, which has five research lenses: health equity, social determinants of health, population and community health, prevention and health promotion, and systems and models of care.

Our extensive training in developing, implementing and presenting research projects, and clear alignment with the National Institute for Nursing Research on how to solve today’s health challenges, folds the perspective of nurses into new ways of delivering care. It also enables us to work to the top of our license and will support patient safety and healing for years to come. 

Nursing-led research efforts already underway at Montefiore include a device we’re evaluating called “Buzzy.” “Buzzy” uses temperature and vibrations to decrease the sensation of pain during an intravenous catheter placement in our pediatric population. 

We have also evaluated different types of pillows for the comfort and positioning of people in orthopedic settings. The creation of new studies that evaluates these kinds of devices and even pillows, can only happen and be successful when education and a collaborative interdisciplinary team are supported by a sound framework for advancing care.

As part of our goals of leveraging data to enhance and support healthcare provider communication and be a true partner with our patients, we have studies ranging from when is it best to initiate a “difficult conversation” with people experiencing chronic illnesses to evaluating the experience of a hospitalized child with and without guardians being present at the bedside. 

As a major academic medical center, nurses are also partnering with physicians to lead large clinical trials. Our nurses are screening potential patients for clinical trial eligibility, consenting patients and are enrolling them into trials, in addition to conducting reporting on outcomes and adverse events. 

What is particularly important and can’t be understated or undervalued is that so many of us are members of the Bronx community. Because of this, we can convey the importance of participating in these trials, and genuinely communicate about the importance of better understanding causes of illness in our region and ensuring new treatments are informed by and account for genetic differences across race and ethnicities. 

So this Nurses Week, I encourage nurses in any stage of their career to be part of this next wave of nursing. And for every nurse out there, I thank you for your hard work, dedication and passion for improving the care of others.