In partnership to affect education and improve community health

Vicky Hines, CEO and President of VNS

Vicky Hines,
CEO and President of VNS

Together, Visiting Nurse Service of Rochester and Monroe County, Inc., and the School of Nursing are uniquely poised to change how community health is practiced. So says Vicky Hines, CEO and president of VNS.

Hines’ conviction is based on where she sees health care going and her in-depth knowledge of the School; for seven years she was the associate dean for administration and finance. That experience lends a deep appreciation for how the School and VNS, the oldest home care agency in Rochester, can partner for the betterment of the community.

“Health reform is in large part about influencing individuals to take control and stay healthy. So much of the change you’ll see will come through nursing interventions happening in community settings. That presents us with many opportunities to collaborate and lead,” said Hines.

VNS and the School enjoy a great deal of synergy already. Partnerships exist in all three of the School’s mission areas: education, practice, and research. Each semester, VNS nurses precept more than 60 students from the School’s accelerated programs; Hines herself co-teaches a class in the health systems leadership program. VNS nurses conduct home visits locally through the Nurse Family Partnership program, an evidence-based home visitation program that improves the health and well-being of low-income, first-time parents and their children. The program, which serves more than 200 mothers in Monroe County, has its roots at the School; Harriet Kitzman RN, PhD, FAAN, senior associate dean for research, co-developed the program.

In terms of research, VNS of Rochester has worked with School of Nursing faculty before and has plans to do so again. Mary Wilde, PhD, RN, associate professor, conducted a study with VNS that looked at long-term urinary catheter use in home care. Kitzman reviewed nurse/home therapies for childhood asthma. And Dianne Liebel, RN, PhD, assistant professor at the School, hopes to begin a study this fall that looks at a novel home care intervention to help the frail elderly, who are prone to depression. Click here to learn more about Diane Liebel and her work »

When it comes to research like Liebel’s involving the aging population, Hines calls VNS “the perfect clinical lab.” VNS nurses visit more than 2,200 people—most over the age of 65—each day. Factor in that for 10 years the agency has been using a fully automated medical records system. That means a massive amount of data is available for analysis and study.

Collaborating with researchers is one step, said Hines, in creating a closed loop between practice, research and education. “I believe this is how we educate the next generation of nurses,” she notes. “We take these projects and we trial new approaches to community health. Then we find the best practices and we teach them to students and we implement them in the community. Each part of this process is integral and affects the next. Research that informs practice that, in turn, informs education. That’s what we want,” she said.

Kathy Parker, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, shares both Hines’ enthusiasm and her desire to eliminate barriers to collaboration. “Our partnerships with community care organizations like VNS are increasingly important, and there are certainly areas that we want to focus on: continuity of care, quality and safety, outcomes,” Parker said.  “Now we need to look at how we can grow together to effect change.”

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.