Clinical researchers contributing to nursing research: Dr. Miriam Bender and Dr. Alison Holman | new university
The UCI Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences hosted Dr. Miriam Bender, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, and Dr. Alison Holman, Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing, for a virtual seminar on the implementation of research in nursing disciplines, during a seminar on March 1.
Throughout the hour-long seminar, the two guest speakers discussed their nursing research interests and ways their work could further develop nursing within medicine. This was the sixth seminar in the Physician Scientist and Clinical Researcher Development Conference Series, which aims to further develop special research exchange mechanisms for research and educational purposes among clinical researchers in all fields of health sciences.
Dr. Frank Meyskens, a professor in the UCI School of Health Sciences and Medicine, was the seminar host and began by introducing Bender as the evening’s first speaker. She began her presentation by outlining the complexity of care delivery and the advances in nursing as a health care intervention.
“In 2013, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported that nursing does not have many evidence-based interventions that show . . . effectiveness in making healthcare safer” , Bender said. “Areas such as registered nursing have been identified as possible strategies for reducing factors such as mortality, but mixed evidence with impacts of nursing on morbidity, for example, has not been identified. not been able to improve the delivery of health care.”
As this is assessed, the number of nursing interventions and nurses available cannot be immediately used to blame the lack of more positive outcomes. Interventions are used to train nurses in the essential skills required in this profession. Subsequently, it is the nurse’s job to apply these skills in her own practice. A nurse’s ability to organize their knowledge into viable practice outcomes is key to making a real difference. To achieve this, Bender described conducting nursing research to view nursing as an organized system and not as an intervention. This, however, can be difficult to accomplish.
“There is a lot of evidence for a multidisciplinary approach to thinking about health care, public health care, and care delivery through the lens of an organized system,” Bender said. “Although we don’t know how to study the organization of complexity, I think this approach could help us overcome binary questions of efficiency, using methodologies that can access complexity and heterogeneous relationality, and to an engaging context.”
To carry out this methodology, Bender has organized its research within a framework of stakeholder engagement that involves professionals from research, policy, education, and practice.
Working to synthesize existing knowledge, develop pragmatic research strategies and conduct nationwide research, her goal was to enter the world of care delivery to make a difference in the quality of care and the patient safety. In doing so, she found that existing practices in caregiving interventions could be modified to produce better results since current projects are working.
“We show that these methods work and are able to capture what is happening in health systems. Although intervention groups are different depending on the health care setting, they are still able to capture the things that are happening and make a difference in achieving positive outcomes,” Bender said.
After Bender’s presentation, Meyskens introduced Holman, who opened his discussion by describing the aspect of collective trauma. Over the past two years, she has pointed to the presence of various stressors in our world that have induced such collective trauma.
“2020 was particularly characterized by a series of collective traumas. We’ve had the coronavirus, an economic recession, the struggles of climate change, and a social calculus around racial strife. When all of these stressors came crashing down on us together, unlike anything we had ever experienced before, we were forced to deal with them somehow,” Holman said.
Described as the main stressor during this time, COVID-19 was an ominous and silent threat that had local and global implications. As this affected and restricted many aspects of our own lives, many people felt hopeless and unmotivated aimlessly.
Because of this significant impact, Holman conducted a study to understand how individuals in the United States were dealing with this time of uncertainty.
“Using data from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) AmeriSpeak Panel, my colleagues and I were able to collect data on more than 65,000 Americans who provided data on their mental and physical health before the pandemic began” , Holman mentioned.
In mid-March 2020, Holman and his team randomly selected a sample of participants who were divided into three 10-day cohorts that lasted through April 2020. Asking them about their stress and other aspects of their mental health across various waves of surveys, Holman found that media overexposure and individual exposures to COVID-19 significantly and negatively affect an individual’s mental health.
In this process, however, she believed that a certain population of individuals was being overlooked: healthcare workers. She concluded the seminar by describing the impact of the silent stressor on these people and what can be done in the future to help them.
“More than 36,000 healthcare workers have died during the pandemic. Those that were successful involved more nurses and support staff than doctors, where a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing and likelihood of contraction played a significant role,” said Holman. “As cases of increased burnout have led to increased depersonalization, a lack of compassion and empathy in medical care has also resulted. This is a red flag that we need to pay attention to, which could be addressed with more research into the impact of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of healthcare workers.
To learn more about Bender and Holman’s work in nursing, healthcare implementations, and their other medical practices, visit the UCI Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing website.
Korintia Espinoza is the STEM Editor-in-Chief. She can be reached at [email protected].