Ann Hendrickson of Marathon obtained her master’s degree in May and is now a clinical nurse specialist taking care of medical/surgical, geriatrics and oncology patients. She has more than 20 years experience in acute care, community nursing and home health care. The mobility protocol she devised for her capstone project is being implemented on several units throughout Upstate University Hospital. Let her explain:
“I noticed that patients didn’t seem to be out walking in the hall, moving around as much as I remembered in the past.
“In our hospital, in the Intensive Care Unit, where people go in and they’re very, very ill, we get them up out of bed as they heal. And on the post-surgical units, we are very good about getting patients up and walking. But on general medical floors, a mobility protocol was not being implemented. There just wasn’t one.
“I started looking into some research and realized that especially older people can lose quite a bit of muscle strength by not getting out of bed and walking while they are in the hospital. It can actually contribute to them not going home but having to go to a nursing home. It can contribute to longer lengths of stay in the hospital and to losing function that they may or may not get back.
“So I looked at several ways that we might be able to help that and developed this mobility protocol that is driven by the nurses. It encourages patients to get out of bed for each meal, to sit in the chair rather than sitting in the bed, and to get up and walk in the hall a minimum of 25 feet three times a day, which is basically between one door and the next and back.
“Research shows that it does improve their function and health.”
Interested in nursing? Upstate offers degree programs for Registered Nurses seeking master’s degrees and doctorates. Hendrickson says the field offers many opportunities. “If you haven’t really made up your mind what you want to do, nursing offers something for everyone,” she says. Learn more through the College of Nursing at www.upstate.edu/con or by calling 1-315-464-4570.
Read more about Hendrickson’s program on the With Distinction blog.
Read this and much more in the summer issue of Upstate Health magazine.