It's a partnership that's bringing a Sioux City hospital and a local college together in the name of patient care. Mercy Medical Center worked with Morningside College nursing students who did literature-based research and came back to them with some changes that may promote even better patient care in the hospital.
"It's important for our nursing students to have the opportunity for real life practices, to look at how research is used in the real setting, real patients," said Dr. Mary Kovarna. And that's exactly what these nursing students and their classmates gained from a semester of research. They each picked a topic provided by medical officials at Mercy. "These students also do their clinical time at Mercy Medical Center. So, they 're familiar with the needs and the practices," said Dr. Kovarna.
Kate Ericson and her team looked into the idea of having patients go for short walks after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis or a DVT. Until now, the belief was that walking with a DVT blood clot in your leg could lead to a potentially-deadly pulmonary embolism. "For patients who are able to get up and actually walk after this, we found it actually helps them improve their condition and helps them go home and heal faster.// The walking actually helps reduce the circumference of the calf, because there's a lot of swelling and a lot of pain. And it also helps reduce the pain," said Kate Ericson.
Whitney Postma and her group tackled the topic of constipation for patients in the hospital. She says until now, it wasn't something that nurses assessed on a regular basis. So they developed a risk assessment tool to help nurses get a better idea of their patients situation. "The tool would assess things such as a diseases that they may have, or if they're on bed rest. It also assesses their food intake, they're amount of activity," said Whitney Postma. The tool would also suggest things nurses could do to help lower a patients risk of constipation in the hospital. A practice that could change the way patients are cared for at Mercy. "As years go on, practice changes and it has to, in order to provide the better patient care. We're always looking to improve and get better, and I think this plays a big part in that," said Ericson. And a big part in the education of these nursing students, getting ready for their first jobs after graduation. And they think they'll be ready. "If you are looking at how to provide the best care to patients, you have better patient outcomes and better patient satisfaction," said Postma.
Health officials at Mercy say that all the research the Morningside Nursing students provided to them is being reviewed at this point, to see what they may be able to implement into the actual hospital setting. Mercy says it works with several Siouxland college nursing programs on research projects like this to ensure it has the best patient practices at all times.
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