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During the last nine years, funding from the Mary Fay Enrichment Award has given nurses the opportunity to explore innovative solutions to complex patient care problems and implement them at BWH. Nurses already have studied a variety of issues and improved care in areas including the presence of family at the bedside during an emergency, skin care strategies for low birth weight premature infants and the creation of a nursing simulation program.
Last week, five nurse teams received the award, and the clinical topics they will study reflect some of the most complex patient care needs that challenge nurses everyday in their practice.
“This award gives nurses the opportunity to take a step outside, or as Estrellita Karsh would concur, ‘get some fresh air,’ and bring back great ideas,” said Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services during the award ceremony.
The award was established in 1999 by Yousuf and Estrellita Karsh, and is funded by the Karsh family, Marshall Wolf, MD, and the Department of Nursing. The award provides funding to nurses to examine and evaluate how compassionate care is defined and delivered in other health care settings and to bring that knowledge back to BWH.
Two teams of recipients from CWN this year will travel to a Minnesota area hospital to learn about integration and implementation of a perinatal palliative care program. A NICU team will design a simulation-based cardiac education program. Another team will study how to improve communication between caregivers and non-English speaking or aphasic patients. The last group, comprised of medical surgical nurses, will tackle how to deal with behaviorally difficult patients.
“What’s remarkable about all of you who applied for and received these enrichment scholarships is your drive and commitment to improve not only your own clinical practice, but the practice of all Brigham nurses,” said BWH President Gary Gottlieb, MD, MBA. “I am sure hundreds of your nursing and physician colleagues will benefit from your efforts, as will hundreds and hundreds more of our patients.”
Estrellita Karsh noted after the ceremony, “For almost ten years it has been a humbling and learning experience for me to see how individual nurses have pursued their projects, put them into practice and changed the culture and direction of the Brigham.”