[CUA Office of Public Affairs]   



Aug. 18, 2005


CUA Nursing School Awarded $1 Million to Improve Access to Quality Care


WASHINGTON, D.C.The Catholic University of America’s School of Nursing has been awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to improve access to quality care for patients at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. Joanne Duffy, associate professor of nursing, is principal investigator for the project.


The five-year grant, titled “Relationship-Centered Caring in Acute Care,” will provide for the immediate implementation and testing of the quality-caring model Duffy developed to reaffirm nursing’s central role of relationships with patients. 


“This research provides an important template for partnerships between health care systems and university schools of nursing to generate meaningful and timely research,” says Nalini Jairath, dean of CUA’s nursing school. “Dr. Duffy's research is novel in that it takes into account the realities and complexities of health care delivery systems and the needs of the wonderful nurses who work within these systems.”


The nursing staffs from four departments at Holy Cross that primarily serve populations over 65 years of age will learn a new way of performing their functions, including more patient-nurse interaction, greater consistency of patient-nurse relationships, less emphasis on tasks, and increased collaboration among members of the health care team.


"Holy Cross Hospital is excited to be a part of this collaboration with Catholic University, which ultimately benefits the patients who place their trust in our ability to provide them with the very best of care," said Jennifer Baldwin, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of patient care services at Holy Cross.  "The health care industry is very focused on the use of technology to help us provide care safer and more efficiently, but we cannot lose sight of the importance of nurse-patient relationships and the impact of that relationship on the overall quality of patient care."


Duffy’s model will be evaluated before and after implementation — looking at its effects on patients, nurses and the health care delivery system — then compared with a control group of four non-participating hospital departments. If successful, the program will be expanded to all departments of Holy Cross Hospital and eventually to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho, which, like Holy Cross, is part of the Trinity Health System, the third largest Catholic health care system in the United States.


“This is exciting because it’s an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of the quality-caring model,” Duffy says. “It’s the first time this model will be implemented system wide.”

The model consists of a values clarification workshop, a course on relationship-centered caring (which provides credit from CUA to nurses who take it), continuing education for nurses, a professional development program and redesigned patient-care delivery. The grant money will pay the salaries of a full-time project manager and administrative assistant, four research assistants, a part-time data manager and three consultants from outside the university who will provide guidance and expertise.


“Dr. Duffy’s grant explores the critical, but vitally missing, dynamics of the caring aspects of patient care,” says Distinguished Professor of Nursing Jean Watson of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, who is past president of the National League for Nursing.


“There is an urgent need for research and practices that make a difference in the work and world of patients and practitioners alike,” adds Watson. “It is both an ethical and scientific need to study and preserve the most essential human aspects of health care.”


MEDIA: For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Chris Harrison or Anne Cassidy in the CUA Office of Public Affairs by calling 202-319-5600.


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The Catholic University of America School of Nursing has long been one of the nation’s leading nursing schools. Founded in 1932, the school has graduated more than 8,000 nurses, many of whom now hold top leadership positions in hospitals and health care settings, academia, the military and government. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctor of science degrees, the School of Nursing is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. It partners with more than 130 clinical agencies in the Washington, D.C., area to provide students with a broad and diverse exposure to nursing, multicultural health care practices and state-of-the-art research.





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Revised: 8/18/2005

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The Catholic University of America,
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