James Madison University

NEW COLLEGES FORMED A plan to reorganize the College of Integrated Science and Technology into two colleges took effect July 1, 2012. The new colleges are the College of Health and Behavioral Studies and the College of Integrated Science and Engineering.


JMU Assists RMH in Introducing Evidence-Based Practice

PHOTO: NurseThe primary function of the James Madison University – Rockingham Memorial Hospital (JMU-RMH) Collaborative is to foster innovative initiatives that involve members of both organizations, resulting in new ways for the two organizations to work together.  One example of this type of collaboration is JMU assisting RMH in implementing the best practices of Magnet Status hospitals. 

An element in achieving this status is the Professional Nursing Clinical Ladder Recognition Program at RMH. This program promotes and rewards registered nurses who participate in additional nursing activities, serve on committees, educate staff and patients, etc, all beyond their job requirements.  The program encourages nursing research projects that improve patient care, save nursing time and reduce healthcare costs.  Nurses are rewarded for their participation monetarily as well as being distinguished by different job titles as they advance up the ‘ladder’. 

PHOTOL Laptop and stethoscopeOne of the ‘rungs’ of the Clinical Ladder Recognition Program includes the introduction of evidence based practice (EBP), which promotes the collection, interpretation, and integration of valid and applicable patient-reported, clinician-observed, and research-derived evidence. The best available evidence, moderated by patient circumstances and preferences, is applied to improve the quality of clinical judgments.

Such a program can be more effectively achieved by strengthening the connection between academia (research and scholarship) and practice clinicians. The goal is to study previously conducted research and look at ways to implement the results into practice changes and then evaluate how well the results improved patient care.  The ultimate goal is improved patient care and to encourage the nurses to play a more active role on the patient’s medical team. 

Other areas of clinical practice and professional excellence that are recognized in this ladder are: Professional Nursing Service, Clinical Nursing Competence, Leadership Skills, Continuing Education, Volunteer Nursing/Health Service outside of hospital, Customer Service and Hospital Wide, Initiatives for Excellence and National Certification in nursing specialty area.

PHOTO: Nurse and patientTwo “Introduction to Evidence Based Practice” seminars were taught by Dr. Margaret Bagnardi of the JMU Nursing Dept.  These seminars covered a basic understanding of research principles and how to transfer these into clinical practice.  Dr. Bagnardi was joined by George Curran, the Health Science Librarian from RMH’s Virginia Funkhouser Health Sciences Library, to provide participating nurses with lessons on how to conduct research online and in the RMH library. 

When the first seminar was scheduled it quickly filled up with nurses looking to take advantage of the opportunity so a second session was scheduled.

The topics of the second set of seminars included how to evaluate the quality of the research and whether the findings would be applicable to the patient population in this area.  

Some of the topics chosen by nurses for research are wound management, preventing blood clots, and IV/Catheter care.  The Ambulatory Surgery Center will be studying research on ways to prevent post-operative nausea and ways to implement changes based on their findings. 

In May  a third set of workshops will focus on identifying and recruiting hospital staff to act as mentors to nurses wanting to get started using EBP.  The program will continue to expand with the availability of staff onsite.

In the spirit of collaboration, JMU undergraduate nursing students will be assisting with the research projects and an exhibit of the EBP projects will be displayed at the hospital.  An additional benefit to JMU is the opportunity for faculty to conduct research with the help of the nursing staff and to work with the staff in translating research evidence into practice guidelines.