March 25, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Alissa Sherman, a 2008 nursing graduate, was invited to join a council at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., which will be working toward encouraging nurses to use practices that have been proven effective, known as “evidence-based practice.”
“Evidence-based practice is a way of thinking,” said Marianne E. Olson, a registered nurse with a doctorate in nursing research, who is a member of the Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Division at Mayo Clinic. “It is a commitment by all members of health care to incorporate the latest medical practices.”
Mayo Clinic has 10,000 nurses in its facilities reaching across five states, yet when it came time to create a council that would be dedicated to ensuring an efficient manner of sharing best-practices ideas, Olson thought of Sherman, who had only joined the clinic a year ago. “We tell all of our new nurses that your number one role is to keep asking us the question why – why are you doing what you are doing?” said Olson. “Alissa embodies that. She is exactly the type of nurse we are seeking at Mayo.”
The council consists of only 40 members – 20 in ambulatory services, and 20 who work in in-patient care, where Sherman works as a staff nurse. These 40 members are working on policy that will initially affect the thousands of nurses working in the Mayo hospitals and health care facilities, with hopes of influencing an approach to nursing throughout the field. “Our mission is to provide the best nursing care in the world,” said Olson. “Mayo Clinic often leads the way.”
“It’s a huge honor to be on the council as a new employee and a new graduate,” said Sherman, who calls research a passion she developed at Illinois Wesleyan. “I wanted to continue the work I began at IWU learning about sustainable processes in hospitals, so I sought out Dr. Olson.
“Alissa came up to me and asked if she could meet me in my office to discuss research,” said Olson. “There she was, on her day off, talking with me about continuing the research she started in school. There was such a drive in her, a passion for helping people, a spirit of inquiry. When it came time to form the council on evidence-based practice, my mind automatically went to Alissa.” Olson said. “We want more of what Alissa brings to us,” said Olson. “Seeing a nurse like her is a sign of hope for the future of our profession. And I know her education had a lot to do with that.”
According to Olson, Sherman has already been an asset to the council. “She brings fresh eyes to each issue we discuss,” said Olson, who noted she is impressed with Sherman’s desire to challenge herself with new ideas. “The science of nursing is changing,” she said. “It’s no longer enough to graduate with a degree or earn a license. Everyone in health care, from doctors and pharmacists, to nurses and physical therapists must be committed to continual education, so the best choices in care can be made for patients.”
Sherman plans to continue her education, working toward her master’s degree in nursing, while remaining with the clinic.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960