Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Professors discuss research on nursing clinical

Professors discuss research on nursing clinical

Elizabeth Pulanco / Winonan

At Winona State University, the nursing program has been finding new and innovative ways to train and teach incoming health care professionals.

On Sept. 15 and 16, Winona State nursing professors Jennifer Timm and Shirley Newberry gave a presentation at the International Collaboration for Community Health Nursing Research Symposium in Canterbury, England at the Kent University Campus.

The presentation was titled “Community Health: Tertiary Prevention in High-Risk Readmission Patients.”

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“We are involved with a nursing practicum that works with a program at one of the local hospitals to improve the transition of care for high-risk patients that are released at the hospital,” Timm, who has been working at Winona State for three years, said.

This nursing practicum is being taken by a small group of students during their last semester of school and it falls within their community health clinical requirement.

According to Timm and Newberry, the practicum is a part of a collaboration between Winona State’s Nursing Program and Gundersen Health Systems.

“The goal is to provide the nursing students a rich and valuable community based learning experience while preventing readmission to hospitals for the most at risk patients,” Timm said.

The collaboration between Winona State and Gundersen began four years ago. The data presented at the symposium has been collected over these four years.

Shirley Newberry, who has been working with the Winona State nursing program for 23 years, was there when the collaboration began.

“In the beginning we started with two students and have evolved into six students,” Newberry said. “We have to be actively involved in how we get students involved and choosing which students get to do this. For the first couple of years it was very much a learning process for us.”

Timm explained how the student nurses are assigned to the high-risk patients when they are discharged from the hospital and provide them with education about their conditions, medications and help them make appointments. The student nurses also discuss their work with care coordinators and make home visits to educate family members.

“These are patients that are identified at admission into the hospital as being patients that are at risk for readmission within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital,” Timm said. “These are individuals with complex medical conditions, often individuals that have at least two chronic illnesses.”

Kasey Brubaker, a nursing student currently taking the clinical has enjoyed her work with these patients and is grateful for the experience.

“I have five patients of my own and I work with a care coordinator and go to their appointments in the clinic,” Brubaker said. “I usually meet them in the hospital before they are discharged, and I call them on the phone weekly to see if they have any needs that I can help them with, like scheduling appointments or teaching them about their diagnoses.”

One of the most rewarding parts of the experience for Brubaker has been the transfer of knowledge between herself and the patients.

“With this program, it has been really interesting to see a patient ‘get’ something that they didn’t understand before, or be able to help someone understand something that they were told by a healthcare professional,” Brubaker said.

The presentation that Newberry and Timm gave in England focused on the educational part of the clinical.

“The presentation at the international conference was really focused on the education side of the project and how the project has allowed student nurses be exposed to this unique type of nursing and this unique type of patient,” Timm said.

At the moment, Newberry is in the process of writing an article about this clinical experience to provide other nursing programs with the information they need to start a similar practicum for their students.

According to Timm, this clinical is an experience most nursing students do not have the opportunity to be involved with.

While presenting the data collected from the clinical, Timm and Newberry were also exposed to different healthcare practices and systems from all over the world.

“One of the things that interested me the most is to see how the healthcare of other countries really goes back and forth between the hospitals and the community and they focus more on prevention,” Newberry said. “I think we’re moving that way here in the United States but I think that the exposure to that was really interesting.”

Besides the educational process of the presentation and getting the message of the practicum out to the world, the trip over to England was an experience for both colleagues on a professional and personal level. Newberry explained that since she is at the end of her career and Timm is starting her career in nursing education, the trip was a fun to have together.

“The entire trip with the presentation and attending the global symposium was a really great experience going through that with Shirley and I together,” Timm said. “Shirley is a mentor to me so I was able to be pushed and encouraged to step a bit out of my comfort zone and embrace doing an international conference. That was a ‘win-win’ for us in our professional relationship to do this together and learn from each other.”

-By Elizabeth Pulanco

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