Sinclair School of Nursing Receives $19.8 Million Grant

April 6, 2016

The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing today announced they have received nearly $20 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand their Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes. Through this program the Sinclair School of Nursing is working to create a national model for senior care and significantly reduce national health care spending.

“We have already seen monumental success from the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing. “Just last month our researchers received kudos from CMS from the first phase of the project. Having the opportunity to expand this program showcases the university’s commitment to improving nursing homes and care of older adults not only in Missouri, but across the nation.”

Launched in 2012, the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes is a partnership among MU, CMS and state Medicaid programs, and 16 collaborating nursing homes in St. Louis committed to improving care. The program is led by Marilyn Rantz, Curators’ Professor Emerita of Nursing and a team of MU researchers. The second phase of the program will take place at an additional 16 homes that have systems in place to manage the most common diseases associated with hospitalizations: pneumonia, dehydration, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, skin ulcers and asthma. Potentially eligible homes have already been identified by CMS and will be contacted shortly by the MOQI team.

“One of the challenges nursing homes face in determining care is the amount of payment they receive from CMS,” Rantz said. “This disparity in payment, between what hospitals are paid and the significantly less amount nursing homes are paid, leads nursing homes to hospitalize residents who could have been cared for in the home. For example, a physician can bill CMS $203 for a resident hospitalized with pneumonia, but a nursing home can only bill $136. This inequity means that decisions about resident care can come down to money, not what is best for the patient.”

As a result of the new funding, CMS has agreed to standardize payments under Medicare Part B for the treatment of qualifying conditions, increasing the amount paid to participating nursing homes for the treatment of conditions onsite. Rantz and her fellow researchers will then study whether the incentive of increased payment will help nursing homes reduce their hospitalization rate.

Since launching, the Missouri Quality Initiative for Nursing Homes has recruited and placed an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) at 16 participating nursing homes. The APRNs worked with nursing home staff and health providers to coordinate patient care. One of the results of the project was a 34.5 percent decrease in potentially avoidable hospitalizations.

Rantz’s pioneering work in nursing homes care quality spans thirty years and she is regarded as a premier international expert in quality measurement in nursing homes and research programs to improve quality of care of older people.

Other MU nursing school researchers involved in the project include: Greg Alexander, professor Marcia Flesner, clinical instructor Jessica Mueller, program coordinator Lori Popejoy, associate professor Amy Vogelsmeier, associate professor MU researchers from other colleges and schools include: Colleen Galambos, professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences’ School of Social Work Greg Petroski, biostatistician in the Medical Research Office.

Subcontractors on the grant are Primaris, a federally designated organization that works to improve health care quality and affordability for Missouri residents, and Missouri Health Connections, a non-profit organization that creates secure health information networks to connect patients and providers in the state.

DNP Graduate Wins Ribbon at MNRS for Poster Presentation

Shelby Thomas received a second place ribbon for her DNP project.

April 19, 2016

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing DNP graduate Shelby Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CLNC, found herself with a ribbon at the 40th Annual Research Conference of the Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS). The conference was held in Milwaukee, WI, during the week of March 17-20.

Each year, nursing schools around the Midwest take part in the conference. Each school can select up to three students to represent their school’s BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs in the MNRS Student Poster Exchange and Competition. The Student Poster Exchange and Competition is a highly attended and much respected part of the conference.

There were three categories for posters at this year’s conference:

  1. Research
  2. Evidence-based Projects
  3. Evidence-based Literature Review

In the DNP category, Thomas claimed second place for her DNP project entitled Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Enhancing Vigilance of Screening, Treatment, and Referral in the Primary Care Setting.

PhD Program Graduate Wins National Dissertation Award

Feb. 4, 2016

On January 21st 2016, Dr. Jennifer Dine, a December 2015 PhD graduate of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, received the Excellence in Advancing Nursing Science Award at the 2016 American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Doctoral Education Conference in Naples, FL. This national-level award is granted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to one student in a PhD in Nursing or DNS program for an outstanding dissertation that has the potential to advance science, education, practice and/or policy; demonstrates scholarly rigor and shows promise and originality; contributes knowledge to the profession; adds to the scientific base for nursing practice, advances understanding of a critical nursing issue and demonstrates methodological sophistication; and exemplifies innovation and leadership in nursing education, research and practice.

Jennifer’s research was supported by a pre-doctoral fellowship in the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program. After completing her coursework and successfully passing her comprehensive examination on the Mizzou campus, she completed her breast cancer research in the laboratory of Dr. Stan Lipkowitz at Women’s Malignancies Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI). Her award-winning dissertation research is entitled “Characterization of a Novel Regulator and Predictors of Sensitivity to TRAIL-induced Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells.”

Congratulations to Jennifer on receiving this prestigious award!

Rose Porter Dedicates Trees and Bench to SSON

August 26, 2014

The first kindness trees on the University of Missouri campus are now located just outside of the Sinclair School of Nursing. They were dedicated by nursing dean emerita, Rose Porter, PhD, RN. Rose served as the dean of the school from 1999 to 2008.

Her and her husband, Mike, say the university and city of Columbia have given them such great lives, they needed some way to say thank you. Their solution were to dedicated trees and benches around campus.

“We want this space to become a symbol of compassion and kindness, a campus of understanding of creating a community of caring and love for one another,” Porter said.

The mindset behind the trees and benches comes from a long history of dealing with students. It all started with former chancellor Brady Deaton’s wife, Anne, and her vision of planting a grove of trees to honor children harmed because of mental illness. After the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Anne and fellow nursing alumna, Suzanne McDavid, kicked the project into high gear. That grove of trees is now planted at Stephens Lake Park in Columbia.

However, Rose wanted to expand the grove to the university. The theme of all of her trees is a powerful motto she is a firm believer of, “A single act of kindness can change a life forever.”

“That’s a very powerful statement, and how apt it is that it’s being planted at the school of nursing because who know better than a nurse of how important it is to reach out with kindness,” McDavid said.

Rose says the motto came from a story about a middle school student that was going to commit suicide. He ultimately decided against it when someone showed an act of kindness towards him.

“That was very touching. Then after spending two years as interim dean at the college of education did I ever become aware of the mental health needs in our schools. That’s where it really, really hit me,” Porter said.

Rose and her husband are dedicating a total of 6 trees and two benches. She says the areas where they reside, are not their space, but they’re a special place of healing, rest and kindness for everyone.