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Northwestern Medicine Hosts Nursing Research Symposium

When Kelly Gregorovic, RN-BSN, AMB-BC, joined Northwestern Medicine’s Nursing Research and Evidence Based Practice Committee, the world was about to change.

“I presented during our annual symposium that first year — 2020 — with Michael Ison, MD,  about the Clinical Research Unit’s (CRU) role in COVID 19 research and the emergency use authorization of Bamlanivimab,” says Gregorovic, who works in the Northwestern Medicine Inpatient and Ambulatory CRU.

This year’s Northwestern Medicine Academic Medical Center and Brinson Foundation Nursing and Allied Health Research and Evidence-Based Practice Symposium marked a return to in-person learning — following two years of virtual presentations. Gregorovic chaired the April 21 event, which offered nurses and other healthcare professionals an opportunity to learn more about applying knowledge and research findings to patient care.


“This year’s theme was centered around various social determinants of health, and how we as healthcare providers can better educate ourselves and provide care to different members of the Chicago community,” says Gregorovic. “In addition to nursing research, the 15th annual symposium featured research from colleagues in allied health.”

Speakers included Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, director of Nursing Research and Health Equity at Rush University Medical Center, and Edward Penate, DMin, BCC, Palliative Care Chaplain at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Other sessions were led by Elizabeth Aquino, PhD, RN, associate dean for academic affairs at University of Illinois at Chicago, and Emily Hill, BSN, RN, CEN, CCRN, lead clinical research nurse coordinator at Northwestern’s CRU.

Hill presented on her personal experience as a nurse returning to work post maternity leave.  She also shared findings from focus groups and data analysis, as well as her involvement in NMH's nurse scholar program. Her work was recently published in American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

“Emily's research is absolutely invaluable, and the first on the topic of nurse wellbeing after returning to work post parental leave. I’ve known of her work for a long time because of a qualitative research study she started several years ago when she was still a staff nurse in the Emergency Department at NMH, says Gregorovic. “Her findings are centered around challenges that I think the vast majority of new parent's face when returning to work — affordable/attainable childcare, availability of lactation rooms and pumping breaks, and the engagement in one's work after having a baby. I think a lot of parents, old or new, will feel incredibly validated by her findings, and I hope this can open up a discussion about the emotional toll working in healthcare can take on new parents, as well as how they worry it affects their colleagues.” 

The symposium also featured a small poster session on different research projects currently being done by bedside nurses and other healthcare professionals at NMH and other Chicago area hospitals such as Rush, UIC, and U of C.

Two of CRU nurses, Meghan Palubin and Joan Pasquesi, presented their project to improve collaboration and communication amongst the many parties that are involved in coordination of oncology clinical trials taking place in Prentice Women’s Hospital.

The winner for best poster went to “Change of Heart: Implementing Innovative Heart Transplant Pathways,” presented by Joseph Armitage MSN, RN, CHFN; Margaret Hansen MSN, RN, CCRN; Aishe Cuca BSN, RN; Jennifer Ortman MSN, RN, CNL; and Lindsay Pifer BSN, RN; and DeAnna Soriano MSN, RN, all from the Department of Cardiac Surgery. 

Written by Roger Anderson

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