After obtaining a doctoral degree in occupational epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2002, I joined the nursing faculty in the nursing program at Simmons University. I am a Professor and Faculty Director of the Health Professions Education PhD Program. I teach research methods across the baccalaureate, master's and doctoral curriculums. I am also certified as an Adult Nurse Practitioner with specialization in Occupational Health. In addition to my teaching responsibilities, I work clinically at South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, MA as a Nurse Research Scientist helping build the infrastructure for nursing research there.
My research agenda explores environmental exposures to plasticizers including phthalates and bisphenol A and I work collaborative with students and multidisciplinary faculty on studies exploring Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization of people, pets and surfaces. I has many peer reviewed publications and have presented this work regionally, nationally and internationally. In my role as Nurse Research Scientist in the clinical setting, I have extended my scholarly activity into clinical research translation aimed at reducing 30-day readmissions, improving satisfaction with patient care, reducing hospital acquired adverse outcomes and improving the infrastructure for palliative care.
Grant funding has been secured from highly competitive National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, the National Institute for Environmental Health and Safety, as well as from the Simmons University President's Fund and from private foundations like the Passport Foundation and the New England Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association. I recently completed a 2-year, $250,000 workforce development grant from the Commonwealth Corporation to improve the infrastructure for palliative care at Simmons University and at our practice partner site- South Shore Hospital.
I am a member of the Organization of Nurse Leaders Research Council, the MA Action Coalition - Academic Practice Partnership working group and I am the Treasurer of the Theta-at-large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. I serve as a peer reviewer for many top tier journals and have received The Theresa LaPlante Award for Excellence in Administration from Sigma Theta Tau.
I am working on several collaborative research projects at this time with fellow faculty members and with students. Two studies involved swabbing student nurses and then professional nurses, scrub tops after a clinical shift and again after laundering to determine whether the scrubs were contaminated with any potentially pathogenic organisms after work and whether their home laundry methods cleared any contamination. Preliminary results from the nursing student scrubs were presented by a student working on the project in a poster session at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The poster was awarded "Outstanding Student Poster" at this event. We are also swabbing nursing and biology student's nares and repeating this after the nursing students begin clinical rotations. We are exploring whether nursing students become colonized with pathogenic organisms after being exposed to them in the clinical setting as compared to biology student who do not have clinical exposure.
Another collaborative study involving students and other nursing faculty involved assessing baccalaureate nursing student's level of test taking anxiety. We found relatively high levels of test taking anxiety which was associate with lower academic performance as measured by GPA and nursing exam grades. The manuscript was published in the journal of Nursing Education and a video abstract describes the results and can be viewed at this link:
As part of a multicenter study "Assessment of genomic literacy among BSN students in the United States", we conducted a pilot study of a new tool 'Genomic Nursing Concept Inventory' which is still in psychometric testing phase. Simmons University student's performance on this inventory will be compared to other nursing students across the United States and results will be used to identify opportunities for where genetic and genomic concepts can be enhanced in our current curriculum.
Additionally I have conducted randomized controlled trials of post discharge telephone calls and their effect on 30-day readmission rates after acute care hospitalization. In a similar study, I am comparing the effectiveness of a Transitional Care Case Manager position compared to usual discharge care on the rate of 30-day readmissions.