Patient Resources

New Knowledge, Innovations, and Research

As an academic medical center and Magnet organization, we embrace new knowledge, innovation, and research – each of which plays a vital role in the current and future state of medicine and patient care. UT Southwestern nurses at all levels seek new knowledge and current evidence to frame their practice in leadership, clinical education, advanced practice, and direct patient care. Structures and processes have been developed and implemented to involve more nurses in the research process, and new nursing knowledge gained through research efforts and contributions is regularly disseminated.

UT Southwestern’s Nursing Research Program has two strong components supporting nursing research throughout our organization, along with a variety of resources to help support integration of current evidence into practice. The UT Southwestern Health Sciences Digital Library and Learning Center provides electronic, web, and personnel resources to assist with searching and acquiring relevant evidence to guide and transform our professional nursing practice.

Innovation and Research

The 2021 Neuroscience Nursing Research Center Fellows

Abdulkadir Kamal, B.S.N., RN

In the fall of each year, the NNRC selects a fellow to participate in the UT Southwestern NNRC Fellowship. The UTSW nurse chosen for the 2021 Nurse Fellowship program, along with his area of research, was:

Abdulkadir Kamal, B.S.N., RN
Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NSICU) at CUH

A 2021 graduate, Mr. Kamal studied automated infrared pupillometry as a biomarker of external ventricular drain wean failure following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Anna Zita Alayon, B.S.N., RN, CNOR, Medical Surgical (left) and Jessy Biju, M.S.N., RN-BC, Imaging Services

As research interests and skills continue to propagate throughout the UT Southwestern Health System, the Nursing Research Department continues to cultivate more clinical nurses at UTSW. Toward that end, the yearlong Nursing Research Fellowship was established in February 2021; the program’s first two fellows who began hands-on research studies in September 2021 are:

“A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge” - Thomas Carlyle, Scottish Essayist

Nursing-Led Research in 2021

Throughout 2021, UT Southwestern nurses were involved in nursing research and evidence-based practice initiatives in specific areas. Many either published their research or presented their findings in poster and/or podium presentations at professional conferences based across the nation and internationally, many of them held virtually.

Nurse Presentations and Posters

As evidence of our organizational commitment to professional development, UT Southwestern supports virtual attendance at local, regional, and national conferences. Financial support for continuing education is aligned with organizational priorities and initiatives. Full or partial funding is awarded based on the nurse presenting a poster or delivering a presentation at the podium. Over the past decade, we have taken an increasingly forward-looking approach to supporting our nurses in participating in key conferences through poster and podium presentations. This approach supports our leadership’s strategic goal of positively impacting the nursing profession at UT Southwestern and beyond.

Innovations and Improvements

Nursing Research: Sowing the Seed, Reaping the Harvest

The research process has involved many changes during the time of COVID, and, like others, nurses have learned to adapt to and embrace these changes, pivoting from everyday research processes such as in-person meetings to virtual or e-consentings and from data collection to data mining. The pandemic has spawned a new awareness and understanding of the power of data and its importance in clinical decision-making. UTSW has continued to support nursing research by listening to nurses’ input and needs, adding education and resources, and encouraging them to take their learning and programs of research to the next level.

UTSW nurses and their leaders continue to expand the nursing research capacity, crossing the research chasm among all professions. Today, UTSW is advancing the health system in nursing research and expanding its footprint by opening doors to advanced practice providers, physicians, medical students, social workers, data analysts, pharmacists, and biomedical engineers, all of whom are working together with nurse scientists, nurse leaders, and clinical nurses and paving a future path in strengthening UTSW nursing research efforts across the research enterprise.

In 2021, the Nursing Research Department led the UTSW nursing research enterprise, encompassing nurse-driven research studies in every specialty. UTSW nurses reported 56 research studies for the year, all designed to take patient care to the next level. The study frameworks included randomized control, quasi-experimental, case-controlled, retrospective reviews, and data mining, and many had a clinical decision-making focus. Nurses, with their physician and allied health partners, were also involved in clinical trials.

Deshonna Taylor, M.S.N., RN, CCRN-K (left) and Emily Pickett, B.S.N., RN

The quality and output of nursing research was one of the four “exemplars” considered in UTSW’s achievement of its redesignation as a Magnet organization in September 2021. One study, “Live Music Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Pain and Improve Sleep in Transplant Patients in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU),” conducted by Emily Pickett, B.S.N., RN, identified the connection between transplant scheduling, patient anxiety, and opioid use for pain control. Ms. Pickett’s personal experience with using music therapy to reduce anxiety and affect pain control for her sister inspired her passion for the study. Deshonna Taylor, M.S.N., RN, CCRN-K validated the study’s results by testing the effectiveness of music therapy on decreasing anxiety, pain, and opioid use in postoperative transplant patients.

For the original study, Ms. Pickett collaborated with Southern Methodist University Department of Music Chair Daniel Tague, Ph.D. Together, they designed and gained IRB approval for this randomized control study. UTSW now has a full-time music therapist, Christina Stock, and music therapy research is moving forward as a potentially valuable alternative pain control option for reducing opioid use in patients experiencing pain.

Since the creation of the UTSW Nursing Research Department, nursing research output has quadrupled. Nursing research leaders review the annual research needs assessment and all nurses’ submissions and recommend research mentors, when appropriate, to cultivate the next generation of nurse-researchers.

Research Needs Assessment Chart

Texas Christian University Evidence-Based Practice Fellows attend education sessions and are empowered with EBP knowledge, leadership tools and skills, and other experiences as they work on an institution-specific EBP project throughout their yearlong fellowship. The goal is to use EBP to improve an agreed-upon unit or organizational (patient or performance focused) key indicator to enhance patient outcomes, clinical practice, and/or financial improvements for their organization. The following Fellows successfully graduated from the TCU Fellowship program in September 2021.

  • Kim Hoback, M.S.N., RN, is an Assistant Nurse Manager in Interventional Radiology.
    Her project, titled “The Time Out Effect,” determined a PPMTO process change by demonstrating an increase
    in medication documentation accuracy from 98.74% to 99.66%.
  • Shelley Aleni, M.S.N., B.S.N., RN-BC, is an Assistant Nurse Manager in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU)
    at CUH. Her project emphasized creating a standardized handoff tool for Peri-Anesthesia and OR.

The UTSW Nursing Research Department wanted to ensure that even in the COVID era it remained a resource for any nurse interested in research, so the department created and implemented an electronic newsletter, Research Today. The newsletter, which contains information on current research studies, provides new and existing resources, and shares updates on the department, launched in September 2020 and is distributed quarterly.

In August 2021, UTSW’s Neuroscience Nursing Research Center hosted the fifth International Neuroscience Nursing Research Symposium. The two-day virtual meeting was attended by more than 150 nurses from across the globe, with speakers from Australia, Colombia, Germany, Japan, India, Kenya, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and the U.S.

In October 2021, the Nursing Research Department hosted the third annual Virtual Research Day, in which two principal investigators presented their studies and nurses across the system presented a variety of educational research videos. During the two weeks of the event, more than 200 nurses participated.

Nursing research at UTSW encompasses three departments – Nursing Research, Neuroscience Nursing Research, and Advanced Practice Provider Research – all of whose members conduct and disseminate their findings via publications, presentations, abstracts, and posters.

“The character of the nurse is as important as the knowledge she possesses” - Carolyn Jarvis, Ph.D., APRN, Author

Neuroscience Nursing Research

In 2021, members of UTSW’s Neuroscience Nursing Research Center completed 27 nursing research studies and presented their work at seven conferences.

External Funding Awarded

Kinley Speir, SN, received a TWU Experiential Student Scholar’s Grant for the EVOLVED study.

Brianna Rhines, B.S.N., RN, received funding through Lone Star Stroke for the DESTINY-II study.

Cole Givens, B.S.N., RN, CCRN, received an Agnes Marshall Walker Foundation research grant for the COMFORT study.

Kathrina Siaron, B.S.N., RN, CCRN, SCRN, and DaiWai Olson, Ph.D., RN, CCRN, FNCS, received a Helene Fuld Institute research grant for the EVOLVED study.

DaiWai Olson, Ph.D., RN, CCRN, FNCS, received funding through the U.S. Department of Defense for the Medical Record for the Brain study.

UT Southwestern Medical Center is proud to continue its tradition of hosting graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about nursing research. This year, students from the following schools participated in nursing research studies at UT Southwestern: Hong Kong University (Hong Kong China), Quinnipiac University (Camden, NJ), Texas A&M University (College Station, TX), Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX), Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX), UT Arlington (Arlington, TX), and UT Austin (Austin, TX). This year also marks our sixth year of hosting ENSPIRE Research Interns. Three outstanding nursing students were selected for this 14-month program, two from TWU, Caitlin Dunn, SN, and Corrie Eartham, SN, and one from UTA, Alyssa Tijerina, LE, SN.