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Congratulations to Theta Epsilon 2018 Grant Recipient Laura Arkin

Theta Epsilon awarded two of its members with research grants in 2018. One of the two deserving recipients was Laura Arkin, MSN, APRN-CNS, CCNS, ONC. Arkin specializes in orthopedics and earned her BSN ('02) from the University of Florida and her Certificate in Nursing Education ('07) and MSN ('08) from the University of Central Florida. Arkin answered some questions to provide our members with more information about her research and how the grant money will help her to accomplish her research goals.

-What has been the inspiration for your research?

I have been involved with various pharmacy and medication error groups as a nursing representative at Orlando Health for many years. Over time, Orlando Health has implemented multiple evidence-based strategies to impact medication errors, including but not limited to: barcode medication administration, independent double verification of select medication, automated dispensing cabinets, medication safety education, etc. However, the rate of errors has not been dramatically impacted. Medication errors (MEs) continue to be a prevalent challenge for healthcare organizations to overcome.Medication safety at the point of medication preparation and administration are within the scope of practice of nurses as they are at the direct forefront caring for patients and over one-third of errors occur during the administration phase. Obtaining insight and information from the nurses within the healthcare organization may provide rich information to help develop guidelines to augment current nursing strategies for safe practice during the medication administration phase.

-What is something you would like Theta Epsilon members to know about your research topic?

The purpose of the study is to explore nurses’ attitudes and beliefs about medication safety practices. This is a mixed method that will include a survey and optional interviews. This is the first time that I have ever conducted a mixed method study and the qualitative portion is exciting and intimidating at the same time. But, I am looking forward to seeing what the results of the study demonstrate.

-How will the grant money from Theta Epsilon help you with your research?

The majority of the grant money will be used to pay for the transcription of the focused interview groups to make it easier to conduct the content and thematic analysis.

-Have you conducted research before?

My first exposure to research was during my undergraduate program where I served in the capacity of a research assistant/sub-investigator with one of the professors analyzing and coding videos for one of her research projects. The ability to work with her and participate in research helped to meet the College of Nursing’s requirements to graduate with honors. Several years after I transitioned to practice as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, I had the opportunity to participate in research again. In 2011, I served as a co-investigator on a study with a Clinical Nurse Specialist colleague/mentor looking at a specific patient population’s post-operative education needs. In 2015-2016, I was the principal investigator on a quantitative research study analyzing a dataset of 2200 total joint replacement patients to determine outcomes associated with implementing improvements in the care delivery. Throughout the years in my CNS role, I have also served as sub-investigator in a couple of other research studies collecting data at the unit level.

-How long have you been a member of Sigma’s Theta Epsilon chapter?

I was initially inducted into STTI in the 2001-2002 timeframe during my undergraduate degree at the University of Florida. After relocating to the Orlando area, I continued to be a member of the UF chapter. Several years ago, after attending the Theta Epsilon’s Research/Scholarship Day and seeing the level of cohesion and collaboration of the chapter, I transferred my membership to the Theta Epsilon chapter.

-Anything you would like to add?

Research can be intimidating; however, having mentorship and guidance from colleagues makes the process less daunting. It is also helpful to have a colleague along for the ride. Andrea Schuermann is a Co-Investigator on the study and it has been such a pleasure closely working and collaborating with her as she is as passionate about medication safety practices as I am. I feel we have complemented each other well during the process every step of the way. With our work and eventual results of the study, it is exciting knowing that there is great potential to add to the body of nursing science and to positively impact patient care and outcomes.

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