Dr. Carol Reineck presents research workbook at international conference

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 11, 2009) — UT Health Science Center San Antonio nursing faculty member Carol Reineck, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, NEA-BC, delivered a presentation about her newly revised workbook on how to review scientific literature at the International Council of Nurses’ (ICN) 24th Quadrennial Congress, held June 27-July 4 in Durban, South Africa.
Dr. Reineck is chair, associate professor and holder of the Amy Shelton & V.H. McNutt Professorship in Nursing in the Department of Acute Nursing Care.

The workbook, “Critical Reading of Research Publications,” is a how-to manual that leads small groups of health care professionals through the process of reviewing scientific literature, the first step in understanding evidence-based practice.

Her presentation co-author was Evelyn Swenson-Britt, Magnet Recognition Program coordinator at University Health System in San Antonio and a doctoral nursing student at the Health Science Center. After the presentation, some of the health care professionals from other countries requested permission to translate the workbook into their languages, including Swedish and Dutch, to make it available to their colleagues.

Implementing proven best practices
Since the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report 10 years ago, ‘To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System,’ the emphasis in health care has been on using evidence-based practice — conducting scientific studies to prove best practices — to improve the quality of health care. “The beauty of this workbook is that can be used even in developing countries where nurses and other health care workers have some education, but not much experience with conducting research,” Dr. Reineck said. “It teaches them the basics of how to review scientific literature so that they can become familiar with it and institute best practices at their hospital or clinic. It also prepares them to conduct their own research, which will contribute to the world’s body of knowledge to improve health care.”

African nurses seeking more education
While attending the ICN conference and the International Network for Doctoral Education in Nursing conference, held June 24-26 also in Durban, Dr. Reineck said she could not help but be struck by the poverty in South Africa and its effects on health care. “I’ve been to many places in the world, but I’ve never seen poverty like I saw in Africa,” said Reineck, a Health Science Center faculty member since retiring as chief nurse executive of the U.S. Army Medical Command worldwide in 2001.

“Compounding the poverty is the overlay of overwhelming, chronic infectious disease — tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria. The nurses in South Africa are seeking more education so that they can be a major part of the solution, bringing care, therapeutics and education to those who have little hope,” she said.

“For example, I learned that in some areas of Africa the death rate is one death for every 16 births. As a comparison, the birthrate in the U.S. is about 15 deaths per 1,000 births. Fortunately, more African nurses are being trained in midwifery, which is improving the birth survival rate there,” Dr. Reineck said.

“Providing tools to help health care professionals throughout the world seek and understand proven scientific solutions will help them implement best practices and may inspire them to test some ideas of their own to improve the quality of health care,” Dr. Reineck said.

Military and Health Science Center nurses contribute to workbook

Dr. Reineck began the research survey workbook in the early 1990s while she was still in the military. Nurses from Brooke Army Medical Center and Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, as well as the 5501st U.S. Army Hospital Reserve Unit at Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minn., and the South Texas Veterans Health Care System’s Audie L. Murphy Division, initially tested the methods.

The third-edition updates were accomplished with the help of many others, including School of Nursing graduates Kirsten Verkamp and Angela Casio, and graduate student Sarah Campana.
In addition, the program is provided at University Hospital and Methodist Hospital in San Antonio by Assistant Professor Paula Clutter, Ph.D., RN, CNS-BC, Associate Clinical Professor Cheryl Lehman, Ph.D., RN, CCNR-A, BC, and Associate Professor Mickey Parsons, Ph.D., M.H.A., RN, FAAN, all from the Department of Acute Nursing Care, and Sara Gill, Ph.D., RN, IBCLC, associate professor in the Department of Family Nursing Care.

Publication of the workbook was funded by the Health Science Center’s Nursing Advisory Council.

Workbook available online
Fred Boord, audiovisual equipment technician in the School of Nursing Curriculum Resource Center, prepared the workbook for online access at http://www.nursing.uthscsa.edu/CRRP/Critical%20Reading%20of%20Research_all.html. QuickTime software is required to access the workbook.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 26,400 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.

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