Elena O. Siegel, left, and Katherine Kim
Elena O. Siegel, left, and Katherine Kim

Translating business principles, building nursing solutions

What do accounting and technology software development bring to the practice of nursing? Just ask Associate Professor Elena O. Siegel and Assistant Professor Katherine Kim. Both infuse their business perspectives to move the needle on quality, safety and health technologies in research and practice.

A former certified public accountant for one of the Big Four firms, Siegel sought a nursing career after witnessing the compassion and challenges of nurses in long-term care settings. Her work over the past eight years aims to close an alarming knowledge-practice gap of nursing-home leaders who carry overarching responsibility and accountability for quality improvement in the settings under their charge.

“I’m taking the focus off the front lines to study the management team responsible for putting systems in place to support the nurses and unlicensed staff providing direct care,” Siegel explains. “My research is slowly making a case to identify the education, practice and policy efforts needed to effectively prepare and support these leaders to successfully tackle the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.”

For Kim, the business principles she cultivated while earning master’s degrees in business administration and public health led her to found an enterprise resource management software firm.

“I knew I could sell products, build and run businesses and services, but I didn’t know if my efforts were effective or making a difference in the health of people,” Kim says. “In order to understand what was working, I knew I had to develop research skills. I needed to earn my doctorate.”

Kim ultimately earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the School of Nursing in 2014. Currently, she is part of a research team developing PCORnet, a national patient-centered clinical research network, to bring research and care together to explore the questions that matter most to people and their families.