Meredith Scannell

Meredith Scannell

Brigham nurses are not only at the forefront of patient care, but are also spearheading timely and urgent research efforts.

Meredith Scannell, PhD, MSN, MPH, CNM, SANE, DVNE, CEN, CLS, of the Center for Clinical Investigation, is a longtime Emergency Department (ED) nurse and researcher who relocated to the ED full-time during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after her research unit suspended its operations.

While treating a patient in the ED, she sustained a rotator cuff injury that required surgical repair. This and other experiences prompted her to apply for a grant from the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) to survey ED nurses throughout Mass General Brigham, with assistance from Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate chief nursing officer for Women and Newborns and Research and Innovation, and Anna Meyers, DNP, RN, nursing director of the ED.

“Having an understanding of how secondary stress, compassion fatigue, burnout and moral injury impact emergency department nurses is necessary to understand the impact working during the COVID-19 pandemic has had and can highlight the need for protective and preventive interventions to be implemented,” Scannell wrote in her proposal.

Scannell was one of three nurses to receive the ENA Foundation grant to perform research that advances the specialized practice of emergency nurses.

“Good quality nursing research that is done by nurse scientists is what we need. I think these three are just going to scratch the surface of the kinds of things that nurse researchers could be doing in the future,” wrote Sally Snow, chairperson of the ENA Foundation, in the March issue of ENA Connection magazine.

Of the 160 Emergency Department nurses who received Scannell’s survey, 101 have completed it, illustrating the commitment of ED nurses to research and their need to share their experiences, said Scannell, who is in the process of analyzing the data.

“I feel excited that there has been discussion about implementing my research study in other areas of the hospital to understand how nurses in other specialties are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. “Promoting research about nurses, by nurses, is extremely important. Nurses have unique experiences in clinical care that frame their perspectives on health care issues. As a doctoral nurse, I can use my own experience, as well as the experiences my colleagues have faced, to develop research questions that can be studied systematically.”

Read more about Scannell’s study in ENA Connection.