On Oct. 7, BWH hosted Discover Brigham Day – combining Research Day and Clinical Innovation Day of past years into an inspiring event about the innovative research underway across the hospital’s many departments and teams. One highlight was the sixth annual Haley Nursing Forum, which shared some of the research taking place in the Department of Nursing by Haley Nurse Scientists. The Haley Nurse Program is a collaboration between BWH and the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College that is designed to advance the development and translation of nursing science through research by creating opportunities for nurses to develop their clinical practice and knowledge of the research process.
Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, Haley nurse scientist, spoke about her studies of the gut microbiome’s impact on newborn health. She is investigating necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects premature infants and has a negative outcome on preterm infant health including poor growth, neurodevelopmental impairment, and death. Through her research, she has identified a biomarker – a protein specific to intestinal inflammation and injury that appears three to seven days before the onset of disease symptoms.
“I have always been passionate and committed to developing science focused on care of infants because we have an opportunity to positively influence health across the lifespan,” said Gregory.
Patricia Dykes, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, Haley nurse scientist and program director for the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice and the Center for Nursing Excellence at BWH, discussed her involvement in several studies that aim to enhance patient engagement and communication around safety measures, such as fall prevention. Dykes and her team are creating and testing tools that patients can use – such as apps, risk assessment tools and electronic care plans – that will improve patient safety, communication and the patient care experience.
One of the safety studies on which Dykes serves as a co-investigator, the Promoting Respect and Ongoing Safety Through Patient-centeredness, Engagement, Communication and Technology (PROSPECT) study, recently found that its measures lead to a 15 percent decrease in harm in the medical intensive care unit. “We are working to change our workflow and improve clinical practice,” said Dykes. “And most importantly, we are communicating more with our patients and enhancing their level of education and involvement in their care. That will lead to greater outcomes.”
Lichuan Ye, PhD, RN, Haley nurse scientist at BWH and associate professor at the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, gave an overview of her research on sleep promotion. “Sleep is important because it is closely related to healing,” said Ye. “Research shows that lack of sleep can lead to delirium, falls, pain and other complications.” Through her work, Ye is attempting to better understand how hospitalized patients sleep by identifying major sleep disruptions, such as noise, and evaluating nocturnal care and sleep aid use.
Ye was recently awarded a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ) to conduct more research and develop a toolkit to help inpatients improve their sleep quality. The toolkit will be an on an iPad app that will assess patients’ sleeping patterns and create a tailored plan to meet their specific needs.