School of Nursing Announces Shark Pool Survivors

A mix of anxiousness, nervousness and excitement filled room 1103 at Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) last week as five contestants stood before a panel of shark investors to present their projects that could enhance the quality of life for patients and bring pioneering methods to clinical practice, education and research.

“We strongly encourage our faculty and students to think of innovative ways to improve health care for our nation,” said Keith Whitfield, PhD, vice provost for Academic Affairs for Duke University and professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and research professor at Duke University Medical Center, and one of four shark investors for the event. “Duke has always been a model for innovation, and this event was proof of it. Fortunately, we put them in a pool with sharks, and they all ended up swimming and doing well.”

Other judges for the event were Marilyn Oermann, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, professor of Nursing and the director of Evaluation and Educational Research at DUSON. Margaret “Midge” Bowers, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CHFN, AACC, FAANP, professor of Nursing, and the faculty coordinator of the Adult Nurse Practitioner Instructional Area and lead faculty of the Adult Nurse Practitioner – Cardiovascular specialty at DUSON. Ryan Shaw, PhD, RN, professor at DUSON with interdisciplinary training in nursing, health informatics, and computer science.

The competition host was Emmy Award winning journalist Sharon Delaney McCloud. She reported on the news in markets across the Southeast including at WNCN/NBC 17 in Raleigh, NC.

DUSON faculty members Karin Reuter-Rice and Jennifer Dungan, with the support of the School of Nursing leadership and the Center for Nursing Research, wanted to create an avenue for nurse researchers, educators and practitioners to pitch their ideas for the chance to receive money to fund their work – The DUSON Shark Pool.

“This competition allowed educators and clinicians or researchers and community partners to work together on projects that focus on improving health care,” said Reuter-Rice, PhD, CPNP-AC, FCCM, FAAN.

Contestants competed in the categories of research, education and quality improvement. A team of Duke experts reviewed all of the applications and selected the finalists who appeared at the live public event on April 12, 2016.

“A scholarly event such as this was a great opportunity to bridge the gap between clinical practice and academia,” said Dungan, PhD, RN. “This event showcased the innovative talent at the School of Nursing, Duke University Health System and with our community partners. It allowed applicants the freedom to pitch novel ideas and approaches to address nursing and health care.”

In the end, all five contestants received seed money of up to $2,000 to invest in their projects. The winners were:

  • Ashley Schoenfisch, PhD, MSPH, assistant professor with Duke University School of Nursing. Her project was titled “Type II violence experienced by nursing students.”
  • Tammy Uhl, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS, pediatric clinical nurse specialist with Duke University Health System, and Remi Hueckel, DNP, CHSE, CPNP-AC, FNP-BC, FAANP, assistant professor with Duke University School of Nursing. Their project was titled “Changing Practice through Simulation: Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment of Delirium in Pediatric Critical Care.”

  • Kay Lytle, DNP, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMS, NEA-BC, senior director of Hospital Clinical Systems and clinical associate with Duke University School of Nursing, and Rachel Richesson, PhD, MPH, FACMI, associate professor with Duke University School of Nursing. Their project was titled “Duke Nursing Flowsheet Data and the Nursing Big Data to Knowledge Collaborative: Focus on Pain.”

  • Qing Yang, PhD, assistant research professor with Duke University School of Nursing. Her project was titled “Promoting SMART design in DUSON.”

  • Myoungock “Mio” Jang, PhD, postdoctoral associate with Duke University School of Nursing, and Allison Vorderstrasse, DNSc, APRN, CNE, FAAN, associate professor with Duke University School of Nursing. Their project was entitled “Understanding of the Home Food Environment to be related to Childhood Obesity: Mixed-methods study.”

After the event, contestants were extremely excited about the event and the opportunity to receive funding for projects that they are very passionate about. “It was a great opportunity and so much fun to bring life to some issues that might not otherwise be addressed,” said Schoenfisch. “I’m looking forward to starting the next step in the process of getting this protocol approved.”

Uhl shared that when she entered the pool it was a little intimidating at first, but once she got in front of the sharks, it was game on. “It was entertaining and a great forum to pitch my idea,” she said. “I encourage other people to participate in the future if you are in need of funding for your research or process improvement.”

After their first year, the winners will share their projects’ progression in an annual Shark Pool update. 

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