DNP student’s work is all about finding evidence

Pamela White, RN, MS, MLS

Pamela White (right), RN, MS, MLS, works with Betsy
Garton-Park, BSN, chair of the Nursing Research and
Evidence-Based Practice Council at Highland Hospital

Pamela White, RN, MS, MLS, has a small poster taped to the wall next to her desk that reads, “Not to know is bad … but not to wish to know is worse.” The quest for knowledge is inherent in White’s many endeavors, all of which relate to closing the gap between research and practice.

Though her work has spanned different areas of the University of Rochester Medical Center and its affiliates, White’s background has allowed her to move seamlessly between various projects, linking them together. With master’s degrees in nursing and in library and information science, she is uniquely qualified to understand how research, education, and technology can inform practice.

Having been a librarian at both the John R. Williams Health Sciences Library at Highland Hospital and the Edward G. Miner Library at Strong Memorial Hospital, White helped nurses and physicians access information. With Tommye Hinton, RN, MSN, Highland’s chief nursing officer, and the Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Council at Highland, she also worked on an initiative to foster evidence-based practice (EBP) in clinical areas. And as a second-year student in the School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, she is exploring how the implementation of electronic medical records (EMR) will lead to improved patient outcomes.

“For a long time, how we practiced was based on this idea that we do things a certain way because that’s how it’s always been done. But nursing has changed and evidence-based practice is the norm. It’s not a radical idea. Most nurses today are already doing this—looking at evidence and literature—but they may not see this as EBP,” she said.

So in recent months, White has worked with Hinton and the Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Council at Highland to firmly establish an environment of EBP at the hospital. This has involved reintroducing the basics of EBP and making sure all nurses understand why it’s integral to care and patient safety. “We want to encourage people to continually reflect on practice and go to the literature when they have questions,” White said. This search should lead them to the library, which White, along with Bonnie Archer, senior library assistant, helped make a rich and valued resource with an array of easily accessible materials relevant to today’s nurses.

“Efforts have been made at Highland to beef up library collections tailored to the population served here, such as geriatrics and orthopaedics. In addition, because Williams Library is part of the larger Medical Center Libraries and Technologies system, we have far greater access than most community hospitals. I encouraged people to take advantage of that,” she said.

This fall. White embarks on a new pursuit related to her DNP capstone project. She was selected to participate in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s Year-Out program, 12 months of mentored clinical and translational research. As the School of Nursing’s first applicant to the program, White will examine how nurses specifically adapt to the implementation of eRecord, URMC’s EMR project. “There won’t be a single thing a nurse does that won’t be affected by eRecord. So understanding how the process works or doesn’t work for nurses is crucial,” she said.

Multimedia in this Issue:

Commencement 2010

reunion slideshow

View a slideshow of the event.

Nursing and medical school students partner to learn teamwork

joint simulation video

View the video.

URMC First in Nation to Implant Heart Failure Device

HeartNet video

Learn more about the device.