Nursing Research: Improving Care for Children and Families

More than 140 supporters gathered in Palm Beach, Fla., for the 10th annual “Transforming Children’s Health” program to learn how nursing research is advancing children’s health. According to the Institute of Medicine, 90 percent of healthcare is provided by nurses. As the eyes and ears of the healthcare team, nurses at Children’s National help translate novel ideas into lasting solutions for children through research, an integral part of their role. It is the nurse who is at the bedside to monitor the child and family, make an assessment, and intervene to alleviate suffering. Speakers included David Wessel, MD, chief medical officer; Kathy Gorman, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Pamela Hinds, PhD, RN, director of nursing research and quality outcomes; and Vicki Freedenberg, PhD, RN, a leading electrophysiology nurse clinician. “Nurses use scientific methods to study the care that we give and make our care less time-consuming for children, less troubling, and less painful,” said Dr. Hinds, who was named the William and Joanne Conway Chair in Nursing Research last May. Dr. Hinds highlighted the research her team is conducting to help children with cancer. By listening to the child’s voice and documenting it, medical teams seek to reduce nausea, pain, and other complications. She also discussed research related to end-of-life communications, which is focused on empowering parents by having them define what it means to be a “good parent” in their child’s final days. Researchers document this and share the definition with the child’s entire care team so that the parents' desires are  embraced and fulfilled by all. Dr. Freedenberg, a Conway Nursing Research Scholar, then presented her nursing research in helping teenagers cope with the emotional anxieties associated with heart arrhythmias. The study was recently appeared in Pediatric Cardiology, making it the first published study using a mind/body intervention in children with pediatric heart disease. “We will continue to use our research methods to create new knowledge that will protect pediatric patients and their families,” said Dr. Hinds. “We are deeply committed to this promise.”  

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