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Nurse accepted into GNLA

Murphy plans to make positive impact on geriatric care

JOLIET, Ill. — One of Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center’s nurse leaders has been accepted into the prestigious Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy (GNLA).

Therese Murphy, BSN, CCRN, was awarded one of only 12 highly competitive fellowships provided nationwide. Murphy is patient care manager on the Medical-Oncology Unit, and hopes to use her experience to advance the standard of care for elderly patients.

The GNLA is presented by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) in collaboration with the John A. Hartford Foundation Centers for Geriatric Nursing Excellence. The program pairs leadership mentors and fellows in a blended curriculum designed to empower nurses to lead interdisciplinary teams in the improvement of health care quality for older adults and their families.

Murphy’s goal is to impact care for elderly patients not only at the medical center in Joliet, but also throughout the entire Provena and Resurrection merged system by integrating best practice pain management strategies for geriatric patients.

Murphy submitted a project that focused on safe medication for the elderly.

“This is the fastest growing population, and we need to manage their pain and discomfort in the hospital setting much more effectively,” Murphy said. “Older patients are at greater risk for adverse side effects from medication than any other population. While we want to eliminate or minimize our patient’s pain, it is important to reduce the possibility of side effects, such as delirium, which can complicate the inpatient stay.”

As the number of people who need geriatric care continues to increase, nurses must skillfully negotiate the needs of patients and family members, and coordinate care with other health care disciplines to ensure optimal health and wellness.

Murphy will conduct her 18-month fellowship under the guidance of mentor Jackie Medland, PhD, RN, chief nurse executive at Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center.

“Therese was the perfect candidate given her passion for older adults and her natural leadership abilities,” said Medland. “The International Leadership Academy will allow her to hone personal and professional leadership skills, expand her sphere of influence, and ultimately, create a new model of care for geriatric patients.”

An interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists and others will collaborate on Murphy’s project that will result in an innovative model of care that she will present to the Honor Society of Nursing’s 42nd Biennial Convention in November 2013.  Geriatrician Bhavesh Gandhi, MD, and Internal Medicine physician Brian Ragona, MD, have already agreed to partner with the project. Murphy’s leadership path will be guided by Medland and Jean Wyman, University of Minnesota faculty advisor for the program.

“Jackie is a great mentor. She is such a visionary, always looking at the big picture, and that helps me focus on the value of everything I do,” said Murphy. “Dr. Wyman is a tremendous resource as well, especially helpful in tapping into geriatric networks across the country.”

Murphy is proud to have been chosen from among nurses nationwide. She is clear that the program will help her be a more effective leader in the future, and thanks to Drs. Wyman and Medland, really expand her scope of influence. She also recognizes that a successful project can have a tremendous impact on care for the elderly.

The GNLA provides a multitude of methodologies for developing leadership knowledge and competence, with a focus on individual leadership, advanced nursing practice through team leadership, and expanded influence in an organization.

The GNLA is possible with a grant from The Retirement Research Foundation and additional support from The John A. Hartford Foundation, Hill-Rom and STTI.

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