September 7, 2017
RN Emily Martin
Emily Martin, BSN, RN, in Fauquier Hospital’s PCU, learned a lot while researching how oral care was provided to inpatients. The journey began while she was working as a registered nurse at a 225-bed hospital in Indiana.
While there, she was the head of the hospital’s research council. The idea for the research came from seeing a poster on oral care at a conference. She returned to her hospital and asked if there was a policy in place. There wasn’t. That led to a two-year effort that included combing the already available research, coming up with a study and getting it approved.
The project turned out to be a survey for registered nurses. “It was a very small study, but it led to our being able to put together a policy on oral care for the hospital. It was surprising how what we learned during our research could have a direct affect on patient care.”
Emily said that in the course of the project, she worked with inpatients, CNA’s, respiratory therapists, speech therapists, materials management and bedside nurses.
“It was an example of a bottom-up change that happened because of an effort from bedside nurses. We put it all together; as a result, the process was changed.”
Another result of the nurse-led research: Emily was one of three authors on a paper (Supporting and Empowering Direct-Care Nurses to Promote EBP: An Example of Evidence-Based Policy Development, Education and Practice Change) that was recently published in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing.
The publishing process was long and involved, even after all the research was finished.
Emily said the experience has informed her approach to taking care of her patients; she uses evidence-based methods in oral health, helping patients to see its importance. She said she has spoken to her co-workers at Fauquier Hospital about it, too. “I’ve shared on a person-to-person level. I’ve spoken to techs and nurses about techniques and procedures.”
Sometimes, said Emily, hygiene basics can just fall off the radar when nurses are dealing with other medical problems.
“It’s so important clinically, and it helps the patient to feel better. Did you know good oral health can help prevent pneumonia? It is pushed more with ventilated patients, but with non-ventilated patients, it can slip. It’s one of the little things we can do to make communities healthier.”
When Emily is not caring for patients or being a parent to three children, she writes young adult fiction. “I find the creative process very exciting,” she enthused.
Emily’s author website is at ekmartinauthor.wordpress.com.