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Nursing professor receives $50k grant to study new nursing graduates

October 12, 2012

Loyola assistant professor of nursing Jessica Peterson R.N., Ph.D.

Loyola University New Orleans School of Nursing assistant professor Jessica Peterson R.N., Ph.D., knows the best nurses aren’t born, they are educated. To that end, Peterson received a nearly $50,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study the best strategies to teach undergraduate nursing students and new graduates clinical skills.

Peterson, along with fellow primary investigator on the project Linda McGillis of the University of Toronto and their team, will conduct the one-year study focusing on students and new nursing graduates all over the world. Peterson and McGillis will scour hundreds of research papers published on new nursing graduates to determine different approaches to teaching clinical competence.

“I’m excited because there has been a lot published about new graduates and about their experiences when they first begin work, and this is a chance to pull it together and synthesize what we know,” Peterson said. Peterson’s research portfolio is in nursing administration and she teaches in the graduate programs at Loyola's School of Nursing.

This type of research is the first step to ensuring that nursing graduates thrive and continue to fill needed nursing jobs nationwide. Successful nursing graduates are an important part of the equation to expanding health care access to underserved communities—something that speaks to Loyola’s foundation in Jesuit education and its commitment to service, according to Ann Cary, Ph.D., director of Loyola’s School of Nursing.

“Dr. Peterson and her colleagues will investigate the research findings to systematically reveal and translate best practices in the preparation and utilization of the new nurse employee for our health industry,” Cary said.

“The initial part of this research can lead to discoveries about retaining new nurses entering the work force, ultimately increasing nurse work force retention. As more patients enter our U.S. health care system, nurse retention has economic consequences for our industry in the face of the increasing need for access to nursing care.”

Loyola’s School of Nursing is consistently ranked by both U.S. News and World Report and thebestcolleges.org as one of the premier nursing schools in the country. The three graduate nursing programs at Loyola are ranked in the top five graduate nursing online programs in the U.S. by the U.S. News & World Report 2012 rankings.

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