Nursing Research in 2017

The Nursing Research & Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) department exists to strengthen the quality and to increase the alignment of nursing research and EBP with Ascension Seton strategy and goals. By educating, empowering, and equipping the next generation of nurse scientists to create, disseminate and utilize best practices, Ascension Health Texas will deliver high quality, effective, and efficient care.

In 2017, The Nursing Research and EBP department engaged in a variety of activities to support organizational goals and the quadruple aim, with an emphasis on RN retention, patient safety outcomes, and promoting nursing scholarship.  Additional projects were related to readmissions outcomes in orthopedics and the role of nutrition and metabolism in pediatric inflammatory diseases.

Activities included: designing and carrying out research studies, writing grants to support new and ongoing initiatives, writing manuscripts for publication, supporting nurses engaged in nursing research throughout the organization, creating a research fellowship (RN Scholars), and hosting an interdisciplinary research symposium.

Specifically, the first half of 2017 focused on identifying patient safety errors involving RNs in their first year of practice and designing a grant to support an enhanced simulation-based training program for RN adult acute care residents. The second half of 2017 expanded upon RN training and patient safety outcomes, in addition to focusing on the cost savings realized through increased RN retention, particularly for the newly hired experienced RN and nurse managers.

Empowering RNs to develop and strengthen research competencies, including mentorship for the newly developed RN Scholar role, aligns with our organizational goals and raises the bar for our nurses to meet the challenges of ever-changing healthcare.

Why do you show up to work every day?
Nursing Retention Focus Group Study

RN retention and satisfaction was at the forefront of our nursing research work in 2017. Not only does turnover affect patient safety outcomes and workforce morale, but it is also expensive. Experts estimate that RN turnover costs the organization $66,000 to $90,000 per nurse. The network took a multi-faceted approach to this issue, with teams in nursing practice, workforce optimization, professional development, and RN scholars at the unit level designing projects to impact retention.

Notably, one of the retention initiatives was originated by Dr. Tiffany N. Ricks, a Nursing Research Scientist for the Ascension Seton network. She conducted nine (9) focus groups with nurse managers and clinical nurses to find out more about their retention needs. Nurses of all ages from a variety of units across all hospitals participated.  During the focus groups, they described their perspectives on a variety of topics, such as their career purpose, reasons to stay with Ascension Seton, reasons to change jobs, recruitment strategies, etc. Findings were deidentified, summarized, and shared with the leadership teams, and the work has continued into 2018.

Network Nursing Research Scientists

If you would like to get involved or have more questions, please reach out to:

Kimberly A. Lewis, PhD Candidate, MSN, RN


Tiffany N. Ricks, PhD, RN

Nursing Research Stories