Nursing professor studies the effects of lifestyle on diabetes
The symptoms of Type II diabetes are frightening: blurry vision, fatigue, and excessive thirst. Even more devastating are complications of the disease including blindness, loss of limbs, and heart attack and stroke. School of Nursing faculty member Edelweiss Ramal, PhD, RN, is researching the impact that changes in diet and lifestyle may have on individuals diagnosed with diabetes.
Dr. Ramal feels compassion for the medically underserved; her research is showing that that knowledge about lifestyle and its effect on health can change lives. Her research, conducted at Social Action Community Health System in San Bernardino, began with a seed grant from the LLU School of Nursing and is now funded by a grant from Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. Dr. Ramal states: “Hemoglobin A1C was selected as the most trustworthy biomarker to measure if people are managing their diabetes.” Dr. Ramal is leading a three-month seminar that teaches the consequences of diabetes, nutrition, and the importance of diet and exercise. She is observing that as attendees begin to follow a healthier lifestyle, patients are improving the management of their diabetes. “Their blood sugar becomes closer to normal,” she says, “and after three months making healthier choices, three of the patients who completed the seminar no longer need insulin.”
School of Nursing professor and Medical Center selected for study
Nurses from LLUMC and an associate professor from the School of Nursing were selected to participate in a national study that will potentially enhance patient safety and quality of care in health systems across the nation. Loma Linda is among 16 health systems participating in the study.
Nurses from 5th floor, 6200, and 9200 will take part in the study, titled "Small Troubles Adaptive Responses (STAR-2): Frontline Nurse Engagement in Quality Improvement." Patti Radovich, MSN, RN, manager of nursing research, LLUMC, is site coordinator for the study, and Ellen Mockus D’Errico, MS, PhD, RN, an associate professor of nursing at LLUSN is the site principal investigator. They lead the team of LLUMC nurses in the national research collaborative for the Improvement Science Research Network (ISRN) landmark study.
In this ISRN Research Collaborative, the team members are investigating operational challenges frontline nurses encounter on a daily basis. The ISRN study will allow for a better understanding of how these small problems hinder patient safety and quality of care. LLUMC will use this opportunity to fill the gap in strategies that connect frontline staff with organizational learning for quality and patient safety.
School of Nursing’s new CRNA Program accepts first class
The master of science in nurse anesthesia is a two-and-a-half-year program that enables students to earn the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) credential. The program received accreditation in January, and is the third advanced practice nursing degree offered at Loma Linda University School of Nursing. Twelve students entered the program in September, 2011.
“Two years ago the School of Nursing created a steering committee to investigate the feasibility of a CRNA concentration,” says CRNA program director Kurt Cao, MSNA, assistant professor, School of Nursing. Committee members included CRNAs, anesthesiologists, and School of Nursing faculty. Mr. Cao said the program has tremendous support from both the Loma Linda University and Loma Linda University Medical Center. This degree concentration is the fourth of its kind in California and the first in the Inland Empire.
Today, nurse anesthetists deliver 65 percent of anesthesia services across the United States. The School of Nursing hopes to deliver services on a global scale. “Our goal,” says Mr. Cao, “is to one day incorporate a mission rotation to developing countries.”
School of Nursing faculty member receives award from Veterans Affairs
Sofia Puerto, PhD, RN, assistant clinical professor of nursing, Loma Linda University School of Nursing, has received an award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The RN in the Expanded Role Award was presented to Dr. Puerto in Washington, D.C., by General Eric K. Shinseki, United States secretary for veterans affairs, and Cathy Rick, chief nursing officer for veterans affairs. Dr. Puerto is recognized for her role as associate chief of nursing education and research, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.
Dr. Puerto also received a letter of congratulations from President Barack Obama. According to the award committee, she designed and implemented a nursing education needs assessment survey aimed at improving veteran health care while addressing exigent and ongoing staff educational requirements. Additionally, she developed an innovative format for nursing competencies that articulates VA nursing scope of practice. For the past seven years, Dr. Puerto has served as president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (Inland Empire). She is also a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.
The VA Secretary’s Awards in Nursing Excellence program, established in 1984, annually honors one medical center director; nurse executive; registered nurse in a staff nurse role and one in a non-staff nurse role who are actively engaged in the care of patients at a VA medical center.
School of Nursing students work to prevent skateboarding injuries
Skateboarding injuries result in 50,000 visits to emergency rooms every year. And failing to wear protective gear, including helmets, is a risk factor for these injuries according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Loma Linda University nursing students studying public health nursing recently organized a helmet giveaway and education program. Enlisting help from the Beaumont police department and local skate shops, they designed an event that would capture the interest of teen skateboarders. “If we could teach safety to children at the skate park,” says nursing student Chanda Cinko, “and encourage them to wear safety gear, we could help reduce skateboarding injuries.”
At the skate park, 25 skateboarders paused to listen to the nursing students’ presentation, and took handouts. Boarders who completed a safety quiz were entered into a drawing for raffle prizes, including skateboards.
“At the beginning,” reflects Shelly Cayaban, “many kids were not wearing helmets. But after we gave out free helmets the younger kids wore them, and were very happy to have them.” Adds classmate Roechelle Appel, “We hope that the more times these kids hear about helmet safety, the more this message might sink in.”
Nursing professors work to improve health of people with diabetes
Diabetes is a growing health concern across the nation and in the area surrounding Loma Linda University. Professors in the School of Nursing are determined to learn how best to help people living with diabetes implement lifestyle changes that will help control their disease.
For one year, nursing faculty led focus group discussions with clients of Social Action Community Health Services–Norton Clinic in San Bernardino who are living with diabetes. SACHS, led and coordinated by Loma Linda University, provides services to medically underserved individuals in the community. The Clinic currently offers classes that provide people living with diabetes a variety of health information.
Latinos represent the largest ethnic group living in San Bernardino, and during the study the researchers identified barriers to lifestyle changes in this population. According to the researchers, ongoing inquiry will help lead to improvements in diabetes education throughout the United States.