Last summer, Christie Erickson – a nurse practitioner at
Essentia Health’s Hermantown Clinic – saw that the Journal for Nurse
Practitioners was seeking articles looking at innovative technologies for
providing patient care and improving nursing education. Erickson, who is
preparing to complete her doctorate in nursing practice at the College of St.
Scholastica, had just finished her 100-page thesis. The topic was integrating
telehealth into graduate level nursing curriculums.
“I had never intended to get my thesis published, but when I read that the
journal was seeking articles, I thought ‘I kind of have to do this,’ ” Erickson
says. “They accepted my paper in June and I spent the summer fine-tuning the
article and boiling it down to 5,000 words.”
|Hermantown Clinic Nurse Practitioner Christie Erickson (left) works
with Clinical Assistant Holli DeRosia. Erickson had her research on telehealth
published in the Journal for Nurse
The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, with a circulation of 90,000 readers
nationwide, is a prestigious journal that features original research and serves
as a venue for discussion and feedback on issues affecting nurse
Kate Dean, director of Health Science and Medical Education
at the Essentia Institute of Rural Health, says Erickson’s publication is a
major achievement. “Getting published in a journal like this is not easy.
Christie’s work, conducted in collaboration with Essentia Director of Telehealth
Maureen Ideker, is of high quality and very
relevant as we look toward the future of healthcare delivery. The article also
highlights Essentia’s forward-thinking approach to telehealth,” Dean says.
Telehealth uses video technology to connect patients and medical
professionals. It allows patients to interact in real time with a long-distance
physician, specialist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, dietitian or
pharmacist from the convenience of patients' local hospitals or clinics,
avoiding long trips to out-of-town specialists. Essentia currently has
telehealth in more than 20 different specialties at 25 sites.
While researching her thesis, Erickson noted only one medical school in the
country offered telehealth as an elective. Many used telehealth capabilities for
lectures and videoconferences, but none used it for direct patient care.
“Because telehealth is a means for providing services to underserved, rural
populations, it’s vital to incorporate such education in technology into
graduate nursing curriculums,” explains Erickson, who began her career 22 years
ago as a registered nurse at St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Expanding telehealth
services are a reality. It’s a way for a new graduates to collaborate with other
medical professionals and allows the rural nurse practitioner to feel less
isolated and more supported.”
Erickson became deeply involved in telehealth about six years ago when the
College of St. Scholastica in Duluth received a grant to purchase several
telehealth carts. The college donated the carts to Essentia Health on the
condition that Essentia would provide services and teach Scholastica students by
offering clinical opportunities. That’s when Erickson got involved.
“Credit goes to those who initially started to do telehealth in Essentia –
dietitians and nurse practitioners in the congestive heart failure clinic at St.
Mary’s Heart & Vascular Center and the Diabetes Center at the Duluth Clinic.
Those individuals were teaching students while learning the new technology
themselves,” Erickson says.
Dean notes that the Education Department at EIRH works with many graduate
students on quality improvement and other projects. “While Essentia provides the
resources and location for learning, the findings from these studies often
influence our practice and procedures, helping us to enhance and improve patient
care,” she explains.
We’ve attached Erickson’s journal article below.
Download File (pdf)
Essentia Health Acute Care and Ambulatory Care pharmacy residents presented their research posters last month at the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacist Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.
The residents collaborate in research through the Essentia Institute of Rural Health, along with preceptor and PharmD Krista Huot.
The residents perform population-based epidemiological research with the guidance of senior researcher M. Nawal Lutfiyya of the University of Minnesota. Currently, the residents are completing the manuscripts of their research to prepare submission for publication.
Did you know Essentia Health offers extensive traditional and electronic library services system-wide? Library Services is a division of the Essentia Institute of Rural Health.
“Our goal is to provide health professionals with high quality, fully accessible information to support patient care, learning and research,” says Library Services Manager Liz Sobczak. “Everyone within our health system can access our library services – no matter what their role. And technology is truly helping us meet the needs of our healthcare teams and, by extension, our patients.”
The library supports physicians and staff with the following services:
- Literature Searches: Whether it’s for patient care, a Process Excellence project, or an upcoming presentation, the librarians are happy to complete literature searches for you. To request a literature search, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org describing your topic and the timeframe within which you need the information. Please provide words that you would expect to see in the titles of the articles.
- Document Delivery: The library staff can obtain articles for you from its journal collection and through its extensive interlibrary loan network. Articles can be requested by emailing citations to email@example.com or calling (218) 786-4396.
- E-Library: A robust centralized intranet site provides access to electronic journals and books, databases, information about library services and more. Click here.
- Books: The library has a collection of medical, nursing, and leadership books. Audiobooks to make your commutes more pleasant have also recently been added. The book catalog is linked on the right side of the library’s home page. Click here. We’re happy to send books to your location via the Essentia Health courier. Books that aren’t part of our collection may also be available through our interlibrary loan network.
- CME Opportunities: DVDs from the Friday morning and Friday noon Grand Rounds presentations are held in the library for three years from the date of the presentation. That list can be found in the center of the library’s Intranet site. Click here.
We welcome questions about our resources and services and can be contacted by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (218) 786-4396.
It’s a favorite part of Norbert Knack’s job – facilitating a group discussion with people who are all working to adopt a healthy lifestyle and prevent the development of diabetes. “We try to help them change their lives for the better – not just for the short term, but for the rest of their lives,” he says.
Knack is a lifestyle coach with the Essentia Institute of Rural Health. In this role, he meets regularly with participants in the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a health and wellness program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Across the system, Essentia offers the program free of charge.
He knows he’s making a healthy difference in the lives of those participating in the four Duluth sessions he facilitates – he sees them lose weight and learn how to live healthier. But now Knack has found a way to spread that influence further: He has become a master trainer, who can now teach others to be lifestyle coaches and start facilitating groups within the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
“We need more lifestyle coaches, especially since 86 million people in the United States now have pre-diabetes,” Knack says.
Knack became a master trainer in March, and hosted his first training session in September. Almost half of the participants were people who had gone through the year-long National Diabetes Prevention Program themselves in Brainerd. They were so impressed by the program, Knack says, they wanted to learn how to start their own groups to spread the benefits of the program to more people in their community. Others at the training hailed from communities across Minnesota.
At Essentia’s Idaho facilities, Laura Hollingshead is also a lifestyle coach with the National Diabetes Prevention Program. She facilitates nine group sessions, and covers hundreds of miles each week in her travels. Just last month, she became a master trainer as well and plans to start training sessions for lifestyle coaches early next year.
“In order to help the rural community that we have, we need more lifestyle coaches,” Hollingshead says. “The program has an impact not only on diabetes prevention, but all chronic diseases.”
Like Hollingshead, Knack also is preparing for training sessions for those interested in becoming lifestyle coaches. The two-day sessions will be offered in early December in Duluth and in mid-January in Fargo. See the box at right for details. Knack says many lifestyle coaches with this program are dietitians, nurses or certified diabetes educators like he is, but it’s not a requirement.
For those who would simply like to participate in the year-long prevention program, more sessions are about to start in the Duluth-Superior area.
“Participants are different people after going through this program,” Knack says. “It’s a wondrous thing to watch people change their lives this way.”
A new gold standard in cancer research is being unveiled across the country this month, and the Essentia Institute of Rural Health is an important part of it. Essentia Health has been selected as one of just 34 community sites nationwide to benefit from more than $93 million in cancer research funding over the next five years.
The funding will come from a new entity – NCORP, the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) consolidated two major research networks to create the new network. The two programs affected are the Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOP) and NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP). The new network aims to preserve, enhance and improve cancer research in communities across the country.
“NCORP is really the continuation of a prior program,” explains Dr. Bret Friday, an EIRH researcher and hematologist/oncologist at the Essentia Health Cancer Center in Duluth. “For Essentia to be one of 34 community sites throughout the country to be chosen is very prestigious.”
For our Cancer Center patients, this development means they’ll be able to join research studies while receiving care in their own communities. That allows them to stay close to family, friends, support systems and their local physicians. It means patients across Essentia will have access to state-of-the-art therapies that are typically only available at large universities or metropolitan areas.
More than 70 sites and health systems nationwide took part in a competitive grant process for $93 million. In Minnesota, Essentia was the only organization north of the Twin Cities chosen. Our Cancer Centers in Brainerd, Duluth and Fargo, as well as other system-wide sites that provide cancer care, will benefit from the NCORP funding and the subsequent cancer research. Within Essentia, approximately $3.6 million will be earmarked for cancer research over the next five years.
The overall goal of NCORP is to support cancer clinical trials that study prevention, screening, treatment and imaging. Research has shown that patients receive the highest quality cancer care when participating in clinical trials.
“We’re committed to providing quality cancer research – the best way to treat our cancer patients,” Dr. Friday says. “Through this funding, we’ll be able to do research projects quickly and throughout the communities we serve. We want new approaches to cancer treatment in community settings, like ours.”
Essentia Health has a historic commitment to cancer research. Our clinical trials program launched more than 35 years ago – in 1977. That commitment grew as our health system joined CCOP in 1983. The Essentia Institute of Rural Health supports our clinical research trials. On average, between 75 and 100 cancer trials are being conducted across our health system each year.
“This is extremely exciting for Essentia and the patients we serve,” Dr. Friday says. “It allows us to give our patients the ability to participate in groundbreaking clinical trials close to home. I’m a firm believer that we’ve been so successful because we’ve been doing this extremely well for more than 30 years – thanks to an amazing care team of nurses, pharmacists, researchers and countless others.”...
Essentia Health provided more than 400,000 hours of clinical education to students during the past fiscal year. It didn’t happen by magic.
Hundreds of physicians, pharmacists, advanced practice professionals, therapists, nurses and other care team members from across our health system volunteer their time as teachers and coaches to health care’s next generation.
“Providing clinical site experiences for student education is a solid investment in our future workforce – a workforce we need in order to make a healthy difference in people’s lives for years to come,” says Kate Dean, director of Health Science and Graduate Medical Education at the Essentia Institute of Rural Health.
“Nelson Mandela said it well: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’ ” says Central Region President Adam Rees.
This year, the Central Region’s Family Medicine Department is making a huge commitment, hosting a third-year medical student for nine months as part of the Rural Physician Apprentice Program (RPAP) through the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. Physicians and staff in our East and West Regions also are making a difference to students. Here, we highlight some educational leaders:
In Fargo, Occupational Therapist Megan Kiefer coordinates OT students from three programs. At the West Fargo Clinic, Family Nurse Practitioner Dawn McKinnon facilitates the teaching of nurse practitioner students.
Ashland Clinic Family Nurse Practitioner Michaelene Jansen is willing to host students virtually any day she is working. It’s a commitment shared by many others, including Detroit Lakes Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. James Christensen, who sets up clinical rotations in obstetrics/gynecology for medical and advanced practice students.
In the East Region, Duluth Hospitalist Dr. Greg Mason coordinates the scheduling of many medical students and family medicine residents through pediatrics. Three Duluth physical therapists – Lance Swanson, Pam Forsythe and Leigh Burt – were recognized by an academic partner as providing great clinical opportunities and effective feedback to PT students. At St. Mary’s Medical Center, Surgery Physician Assistants Tony Valentine and Katie Sorensen and Nurse Practitioner Dana Cope-Rubik team up with surgical residents as well PA and NP students for valuable training.
A huge thank you goes to the following clinical education specialists, who help coordinate learning experiences for students across the Essentia Health system: Bonnie Garding, Corie Cloutier, Christie Erickson, Brenda Iallonardo, Christina Marshall, and Trish Wetzel.
To all of the Essentia physicians and staff members who share their knowledge and time with students, Dean expresses her appreciation and thanks.
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