Coaching & Mentoring Support Staff Nurse-Driven Geriatric Evidence-Based Projects

Tuesday, July 12, 2011: 2:05 PM

Geraldine B. Jones, MS
Nursing and Patient Education, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston, TX

Introduction:  Education on geriatric best practices and the design of evidence-based practice (EBP) projects is not enough to ensure successful implementation of staff nurse-driven evidence-based projects. While nursing professionals are poorly prepared to provide age-specific care to the population of geriatric patients,1 they are also ill-equipped with the research skills necessary for successful EBP implementation. Most nurses have not had formal education in geriatrics or in evidence-based practice and research, and many lack computer skills.

Methods: Four teams of staff nurses were coached and mentored over a 12-month period to support the staff nurses’ development and successful implementation of evidence-based projects focusing on geriatric outcomes. Two days of geriatric and evidence-based project education was provided in a workshop format followed by six monthly 8-hour project development sessions. Teams worked independently in the monthly sessions to further their project progress. Additional 1-hour coaching sessions provided much-needed support for teams that encountered challenging group dynamics, a loss of focus, and were overwhelmed by the breadth of their project.

Results: 1) Staff nurses designed and implemented four interdepartmental geriatric EBP projects. 2) Each team wrote and submitted abstracts for poster presentations. 3) Each team presented professional posters at the agency-sponsored nursing research conference. 4) One staff nurse co-authored an article in the agency-sponsored nursing newsletter and will present project findings at the STTI research congress.

Discussion:  Education provided a strong foundation for the development of staff nurse-driven evidence-based projects, but coaching and mentoring empowered staff nurses to experience successful outcomes. Coaching and mentoring must be partnered with education to produce successful staff nurse-driven evidence-based projects.