New assistant professor earns Arab World award

Researcher Azizeh Sowan, Ph.D., RN, moves to San Antonio from Jordan

SAN ANTONIO (April 4, 2013) — During her time as a nursing researcher at Hashemite University in Jordan, Azizeh Sowan, Ph.D., RN, realized that many bedside Jordanian nurses did not use research in their work.

During an assessment project she conducted at five Jordanian hospitals in 2008, Dr. Sowan found that 65 percent of bedside nurses thought research utilization is primarily a physician’s job.

“The majority of nurses were not aware of the research and evidence-based practice resources available to them, and, in fact, there often were not many resources available to them in some hospitals,” she said.

Evidence-based practices are applied to improve patient care, safety and patient outcomes. It is an interdisciplinary approach to clinical practice based on the idea that all practical decisions should be based on the latest and most valid research studies.

“I created evidence-based practice teams at 15 Jordanian hospitals in partnership with universities. I started with top managers, physicians, quality control officers and other leaders to raise their awareness. Main activities for each EBP team were to implement clinical-practical guidelines, create journal clubs, and raise awareness on EBP,” Dr. Sowan said.

She created an interactive, online evidence-based practices course for all bedside nurses in the participating Jordanian hospitals. “It had to be put on a CD because most nurses there do not have access to the Internet. The Internet is not easily accessible – especially in the underserved hospitals – like it is in the United States,” she said.

For her project, which was in coordination with the Jordanian Nursing Council Project and funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Sowan received the 2013 “Best Nursing Project in the Arab World Award” from the League of Arab States.

Dr. Sowan started the nationwide project in 2010 and completed it in early 2012. The project was implemented at military, private, public and also underserved-based hospitals.

On March 1, she began working as an assistant professor in the Department of Health Restoration and Care Systems Management in the School of Nursing at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. She previously served as an assistant professor at Hashemite University in Jordan.

Dr. Sowan’s research focuses on nursing informatics, a specialty related to the effective use of technology in nursing education, practice and administration.

Dr. Sowan is excited to bring what she learned from the award-winning project to her students in the School of Nursing. She will be teaching doctoral and master nursing students a “Healthcare Information Systems and Patient Care Technology” course.

She is planning to use educational resources available in the virtual hospital in the School of Nursing’s Center for Simulation Innovation in her future research projects. “I also am going to visit many hospitals, especially those in San Antonio, in order to understand the state of science in patient-care technology and contribute to that,” Dr. Sowan added.


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