Left photo, from left: Maddy Pearson, Maryssa Tripoli, Christina Murray and Emily Mooney. Right photo, from left: Karen Reilly, Caroline Bollettiero, Christina Murray, Maryssa Tripoli, Maureen Tapper and Emily Mooney.

With posters, pitches, and awards, the annual Estrellita & Yousuf Karsh Nursing Scholars Day captured Brigham nurses’ spirit of inquiry and dedication to research, innovation and improvement initiatives.

“It was wonderful to see all of the exceptional work that our nursing team does across BWH and BWFH,” said Meg Cole, MBA, BSN, RN, NE-BC, nursing director, Brookside Community Health Center. “It was nice to take some time to think about how we can adopt some of the research and innovation that is happening in our own backyard. I was especially proud to cheer on Brookside’s Tess Paula, who displayed her poster.”

The Estrellita & Yousuf Karsh Nursing Scholars Day began in May 2019 and is named in honor of the generosity and vision of Estrellita Karsh, a longtime friend of the Department of Nursing and the Brigham. Many helped put this event together, including the Department of Nursing’s Research and Innovation Committee and co-chairs Melanie Nedder, MSN, RN, CCRN-CMC, NPD-BC, and Gary Zina, BSN, RN, CCRN, as well as Katarzyna “Kasia” Spitalniak, the Center for Nursing Excellence’s operations project coordinator.

Sean Clarke

Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN, kicked off the celebration in the Bornstein Amphitheater. “Mrs. Karsh established the Estrellita & Yousuf Karsh Nursing Scholars Day as an opportunity for the Brigham and Faulkner nursing communities to learn from each other and to lead nurse expertise, research and innovation,” she said. “Our Department of Nursing would like to extend our gratitude to Mrs. Karsh.”

Estrellita & Yousuf Karsh Visiting Professor in Nursing Sean P. Clarke, PhD, CRNP, FAAN, professor in nursing leadership and executive vice dean of Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University, delivered the keynote speech, which centered on “Unleashing the Clinician Scholar Within You: Thoughts, Tips and Tricks.” Watch Clarke’s keynote speech here (this link is available to employees of Mass General Brigham).

Posters and Fair Tables

Staff also had the opportunity to view 24 posters on research and quality improvement projects, as well as fair tables set up to offer a deep dive on various topics. Poster topics ranged from ensuring the administration of rescue medications in Oncology to implementing ambulatory nurses telephone triage modules in Epic. View the full list of poster topics and presenters here (this link is available to employees of Mass General Brigham).

Karen Bruynell

Fair table topics included professional development offerings, how to disseminate a project through publications, posters and abstracts and the resources available at the Brigham Education Institute (BEI) and Medical Library.

“There are numerous professional development opportunities for nurses at the Brigham,” said Elaine Joyal, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Magnet program director. “These include tuition reimbursement, certification reimbursement and vouchers from several certifying bodies, as well as access to Lippincott certification resources, to name a few.”

Karen Bruynell, MM, administrative director for the BEI, noted the robust resources available for nurses through the BEI. “We have a medical librarian and consultants who can help with research projects one on one,” she said.

Scholarships and Funding

One of the highlights of the event was the PitchFest competition, in which four teams competed for funding for projects that exemplify nurse-led innovation in patient safety and/or outcomes.

From left: Jennifer Riley and Sarah McNamara; Christina Murray, Maryssa Tripoli and Emily Mooney; Laurie Demeule and Deirdre Hamilton; and Andrea MacDonald

The winning PitchFest group included Maryssa Tripoli, BSN, RN, Amy Delaney, BSN, RN, Emily Mooney, BSN, RN, and Christina Murray, BSN, RN, of the 11ABD Thoracic Surgery Step-Down Unit. The team received funding for their project, “‘Walk this Way’: Counting Steps Towards a Better Recovery.”

The team seeks to motivate their patients to ambulate through the use of pedometers to help patients meet their mobility goals as quickly and safely as possible and decrease overall length of hospital stay.

“Studies show that patients who walk at least 1,000 steps on postoperative day one have a significantly decreased risk of prolonged hospital stay,” said Tripoli. “By showing our patients that we measure walking just as we do vital signs, they will recognize the importance of it and feel motivated to walk more.”

Other PitchFest projects and teams included:

  • “Welcome Brigham Baby Bags”
    Jennifer Riley, MNS, RN, IBCLC, Susan Bryant, MSN, RN, IBCLC, and Sarah McNamara, BS, LCCE, IBCLCTheir project sought to provide lactation support to Brigham employees returning to work after the birth of a baby by providing both a pump kit compatible with the hospital-grade pumps in the BWH lactation rooms and a branded cooler bag for transporting expressed milk.
  • “Hematoma Assessment and Teaching Pelvic Model”
    Laurie Demeule, MSN, RN, CNL, CVRN-BC, and Deirdre Hamilton, BSN, RN, CVRN-BCThey proposed creating a pelvic model to teach healthcare professionals how to assess and palpate hematomas at the femoral vascular site, which is not currently available in healthcare education.
  • “Creating a Nurse-Led Interdisciplinary Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team in the Emergency Department”
    Andrea MacDonald, DNP, MSN/MBA, RN, CEN, SANE-AMacDonald proposed offering training to staff in the Emergency Department on critical incident stress debriefing (CISD), a systematic, real-time approach for providing staff with support in the aftermath of trauma.

Annie Lewis-O’Connor and Amanda Shimko

Also during the event, Lewis-O’Connor presented the inaugural Cheryl Spencer Memorial Foundation nursing writing award to Amanda Shimko, MS, RN, CNL, clinical nurse educator. The scholarship, offered by the Research and Innovation Committee, supports clinical nurses and nurse educators who seek to publish their scholarly work. The award was funded by the Cheryl Spencer Memorial Foundation Trust in memory of Cheryl Spencer, whose life was tragically cut short as a young nursing student.

This supports Shimko’s project, “A Nurse Educator Immersion Experience Within an Ambulatory Specialty Department.” Through this project, ambulatory nurse educators will lead interdisciplinary teams within each ambulatory clinic to improve workflow efficiency and standardization, resources and documentation, patient outcomes and patient and staff satisfaction. Nurse educators will also help nurses work at the top of their scope of practice through nurse-driven initiatives and protocols.

Shimko and her team started their project with the Infertility department and have since been able to apply the model in a few other clinics. “We wanted to effectively work with each of our 150 outpatient clinics across Massachusetts, each with their own specialties,” said Shimko. “We’re really excited to be able to write about, publish and share our work with other ambulatory folks, as well.”

Members of the Department of Nursing’s Research and Innovation Committee and more. Back row from left: Karen Morth, Fredlyne Guirand, Daphnee Souvenir, Richard Sullivan, Melanie Nedder, Gary Zina, Sean P. Clarke, Kasia Spitalniak, Maddy Pearson and Maria Bentain-Melanson. Front row from left: Lindsay Blacquier, Karina Ross, Pamela Linzer and Annie Lewis-O’Connor.

Rounding out the day’s events, Maddy Pearson, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, senior vice president, Patient Care Services, chief nursing officer and Beth V. Martignetti Distinguished Chair in Nursing, shared the importance of nurses’ pursuits in research and innovation, which was evident throughout Karsh Scholars Day.

“It’s about the passion that everyone shows for fixing problems that ail us every day, most importantly as it relates to our patients, our staff and clinicians,” she said. “It’s asking questions. It’s collecting data. It’s finding a way to address the problems that bother us. It’s about how we impact patient care for not one person but many, and for many staff, too. This is essential to achieving our vision of a healthier community and world. Because of your experiences and skillsets as nurses, you are so well-positioned to make a lasting impact on patient care.”

For those interested in research and innovation, learn about the many resources available through the Center for Nursing Excellence and the Research and Innovation Committee to help you each step of the way (this link is available to employees of Mass General Brigham).

View a photo album from the day’s events.