In her 37 years in the Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit, Lisa Comis, BSN, RN, CCRN, CRC, has experienced the evolution of the nursing profession. For her, the inaugural Karsh Nursing Scholars Day illuminated the breadth of professional nursing development opportunities that were nonexistent nearly four decades ago.
“Seeing all that nurses are accomplishing in terms of research and furthering their own education today is amazing,” said Comis, who presented a poster highlighting a mentorship program her unit is developing. “Research and innovation open up doors to all kinds of opportunities for any nurse who is interested. Nurses have so much knowledge and so many great ideas to share.””
Karsh Nursing Scholars Day, held on May 30, generated awareness about the range of research projects, innovations and improvement initiatives in every division within the Department of Nursing. Events included a research poster session, innovation demonstration, skill-building session and competition for funding.
“The energy and excitement throughout the day were palpable,” said Kate Gregory, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate chief nursing officer for Women’s and Newborn Health and advisor for the Research and Innovation Committee. “Karsh Scholars Day gave nurses involved in these efforts a way to connect with each other and showed others what is possible.”
Maria Bentain-Melanson, MSN, RN, nursing director of the Cardiac Surgery ICU and co-chair of the Research and Innovation Committee, said that the program offered something for everyone.
“Nurses had opportunities to advance their skills at drop-in sessions that covered how to search for journals, integrate evidence into practice, write abstracts, create posters and more,” she said. “I think Karsh Scholars Day will greatly contribute to an environment that inspires innovation and helps shape nursing practice in new ways.”
During the poster session, staff, visitors and patients viewed posters covering topics such as patient safety, quality, nursing education, the patient experience and more. In addition, six demonstrations enabled passersby to engage with nurses about innovations in forensic nursing, fire safety, a diversity pipeline program and new products.
“The day was a true testament to the dedication and expertise of nurses at the Brigham,” said Maureen Tapper, MSN, RN, PCCN, of Thoracic Intermediate and Surgical Care, Braunwald Tower 11ABD, who participated with colleagues in the poster session and Pitch Fest. “There were so many posters with incredible information, and the nurses spoke about their content with such enthusiasm. I learned so much and was deeply impressed by everyone who presented.”
Caitlin Guerrero, BSN, RN, OCN, of Braunwald Tower 4B, agreed. “The amount of posters was impressive and reflected such a diverse body of work. Having the opportunity to present our work and engage with other nurses was so rewarding after the time we spent working on our project.”
The culmination of the day was the Pitch Fest, during which nurses competed for funding to advance their projects.
“I loved all of the innovative ideas that were presented,” said Tapper. “Nurses are always thinking of ways to improve the care of their patients.”
Karsh Scholars Day, a new addition to nurse recognition at the Brigham, was made possible by the support and collaboration of Estrellita Karsh, a longtime friend of the Department of Nursing and the hospital. It aimed not only to highlight current efforts of nurses, but also to open doors for staff who aren’t yet participating in research and innovation.
“As nurses, we all have the potential to enhance patient care and the experience of patients and families by asking questions and following through until we have answers,” said Gregory. “I welcome anyone interested to reach out and learn more about how to get started.”
To learn more, email the Research and Innovation Committee at BWHNursingInnovation@bwh.harvard.edu
Karsh Scholars Day Award Recipients
Pitch Fest Funding Winners
The ICU diary and bedside organizer projects won Pitch Fest. After the event, Estrellita Karsh generously offered to fund the bedside organizer, which enabled the NICU warming bed to receive funding from the Lily Kravitz Nursing Studies Award.
Melanie Nedder, MSN, RN, CCRN-CMC, CVRN, Sharon Levine, MSN, RN, CVRN, and Caroline Galligan, BSN, RN: Implementing the ICU Diary for patients in intensive care units and designing comprehensive education for nurses
Maureen Tapper, MSN, RN, and Sarah Thompson, MSN, RN: Designing or trialing a bedside organizer that safely attaches to the bed to hold the call light, cell phone and other supplies a patient may need for easy access
Julie Cadogan, BSN, RN: Creating a portable warming bed with the appropriately sized-supplies to help NICU infants transition to extra-uterine life
Sherry Iuliano, MSN, NP-C, William Burke, BS, David Cote, BS, Hasan Zaidi, MD, and Edward Laws, MD: “Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Innovation in the Prevention of Post-operative Hyponatremia”
Caitlin Guerrero, BSN, RN, OCN, and Daria Mlynarski, BSN, RN, OCN: “Autologous Stem Cell Transplant D/C Pilot”
Catherine Masse, BSN, RN, PCCN, Maureen Tapper, MSN, RN, PCCN, Sarah Thompson, MSN, RN, CCNS, CWON, Keri Townsend, PharmD, Karen Tsveybel, MSN, RN, CCTC, and Margaret Higgins, MSN, RN: “A Lung Transplant Class: Improving Patient Care Through Peer-to-Peer Education”