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Alumni lead research initiative for California’s largest hospital provider

As the roles for nurses increase amid the constantly changing state of health care, nurse-led research moves from the background to the forefront — with Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing doctoral alumni leading the way.

Nurse scientists Perry Gee and Frances Patmon lead research for Dignity Health’s Nursing Research and Clinical Analytics program, which focuses on improving patient outcomes, fostering a culture of inquiry and guiding decision making based on evidence-based practice.

Patmon and Gee, both graduates of the inaugural Doctor of Philosophy class, now drive rigorous projects aimed at improving care for millions of patients in Dignity’s facilities and enhancing the bedside experience of the more than 30,000 nurses in the system. One year into the program, they established a Nursing Research Council comprised of advanced practice nurses throughout Dignity, and also developed and engaged in a mentoring program to promote professional growth among the system’s nurses.

“We know each other’s backgrounds, capabilities and strengths. That is invaluable as we work to optimize how nurses use technology tools and to improve outcomes for our patients,” explains Patmon, a former emergency department clinical nurse educator at Dignity Health. “Some of our work has already made a difference, especially around interactive patient engagement technology.”

“Continuing to foster relationships with our collaborative network of nurses and pursue additional research to improve the lives of our patients are huge priorities for us,” adds Gee. “We are fortunate to have great mentors within our system who are experts within their own field to help guide us and positively impact our system. We want to get all nurses — from bedside to the chief nursing executive — involved with research, teaching them techniques along the way and reinforcing what they learned in nursing school.”

Gee and Patmon have presented at several conferences and are currently in the process of publishing scholarly papers on new technologies and research methodologies.