SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 26, 2008) — Kathleen R. Stevens, Ed.D., R.N., professor and director of the Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice (ACE) at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, was inducted as a fellow into the Academy of Nursing Education on Saturday, Sept. 17.
The ceremony took place during the National League for Nursing (NLN) Faculty Summit in San Antonio. The NLN’s Academy of Nursing Education has named a total of 65 fellows nationally who have made significant long-term contributions to the nursing profession.
Dr. Stevens was recognized as a national trailblazer in evidence-based practice (EBP), a systematic method of identifying and evaluating health care innovations so that successful practices can be incorporated more quickly to improve the quality of patient care.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Stevens’ many contributions have been recognized,” said Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D. R.N., professor and dean of the School of Nursing. “Dr. Stevens was involved with evidence-based practice even before the Institute of Medicine began advocating for major changes in health care to improve patient safety. She founded the Academic Center for Evidence-Based Practice in the School of Nursing in 2000 and has promoted the use of scientifically proven care continuously through the years.”
Dr. Stevens developed the ACE Star Model of Knowledge Transformation, the model used to identify, evaluate and implement effective health care practices, policies and procedures. She has shared the process and examples of successful innovation with colleagues in education, research and clinical practice for seven years through the ACE Summer Institutes on Evidence-Based Practice, held each year in San Antonio.
In 2005, she moved this model into the nursing education system with her “Essential Competencies for Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing.” The report details learning outcomes for major levels of nursing education from the undergraduate through doctoral levels. The model is now accepted worldwide for nursing education and staff development.
Earlier this year, Dr. Stevens and ACE were major contributors to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange, a federally funded Web resource for the health care community that features innovative processes and procedures. She continues to be involved in the exchange by working with health care innovators to report their successful health care solutions on the Web site.
“The highest honor in one’s career is to be recognized by colleagues because they believe you have made the profession better in some way,” Dr. Stevens said. “The fact that I was chosen because of work that simply needed to be done makes me believe that these contributions have truly helped others. Now, those who are practicing and being educated today will be better prepared to provide effective and safer health care tomorrow based on science.”
In addition to the recognition as a fellow, Dr. Stevens received a $12,400 grant from the NLN to continue development of a survey instrument for student and hospital nurses that measures their understanding of EBP and their readiness to incorporate it into practice. “The study will involve six nursing schools including our School of Nursing, and builds on the ACE Star Model and Essential Competencies work,” Dr. Stevens said. The two-year grant will conclude the development and psychometric testing phase of the instrument.
“I receive requests almost weekly from hospitals that want to use this instrument to assess staff capability in EBP so that professional development programs can be implemented,” Dr. Stevens said. “EBP is seen as a major solution to improving care and safety, so staff development people want to make certain that their staffs are well versed. A nursing excellence program called Magnet Recognition urges hospitals to use these types of surveys to measure their staff’s EBP competence. Schools of nursing also are seeking this instrument to track student understanding of EBP through their nursing programs.”
Dr. Stevens added, “This survey is just one more opportunity to promote a better understanding of EBP so that nursing students and hospital nurses will understand it and be prepared to use it to improve health care for the future.”
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 $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied 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, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.