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News @ Tech
January 8, 2010
Tech teachers HITS in national nursing program
Dr. Elizabeth Christian

Two Louisiana Tech nursing faculty have become the first group in the state to complete a prestigious four-phase Health Information Technology Scholars (HITS) program.

Donna Hood and Carol Owens, faculty members from the Division of Nursing at Louisiana Tech University, participated in HITS, which is coordinated by technology leaders from the University of Kansas, the University of Colorado – Denver, and Indiana University, in partnership with the National League for Nursing.

Hood is the Lincoln General – Glenwood Endowed Professor and has been on the Tech faculty for 17 years. Owens holds the Franciscan Sisters of St. Francis Medical Center Endowed Professorship in nursing and has been on the Tech faculty for 14 years.

Their proposal was selected as one of 27 chosen to participate in a year-long project supported by a five-year, $1.5 million grant provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Bureau of Health Professions in partnership with the Office of Health Information Technology.

The HITS program was designed to develop, implement, disseminate and sustain a faculty development collaborative to integrate information technologies in nursing curriculum and expand the capacity of collegiate schools of nursing to educate students for the 21st century. The framework for this initiative is the Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) project.

“We were grateful to be selected as the first Louisiana participants in this national project,” Hood said. “This year-long program provided online training and an immersion workshop in Indianapolis. Throughout the year we worked on our individual project that included incorporating the competencies of informatics, safety, quality improvement, collaboration, evidence-based practice, and patient-centered care into our nursing curriculum.”

Hood explained that major health care initiatives are taking place at the national level focusing on tools and practices that enable nurse to provide better patient care, and the HITS program provides nurse educators with skills and information necessary to better prepare students for this rapidly changing health care environment.

“In addition, we began hybrid delivery of our LPN-to-RN program,” Hood said. “The nursing program at Louisiana Tech continues to build on its history of innovative instruction with human patient simulation, use of electronic medical records, electronic medication administration and exposure to new initiatives such as telemedicine clinics.”

Pamela Moore, nursing professor and director, said Owens’ and Hood’s project has impacted the nursing curriculum at Louisiana Tech in two primary areas--further integration of information technology into the nursing curriculum and better education of the future workforce competencies that relate to provision of patient safety and quality healthcare through the use of technologies. Informatics and safety are key concepts of the Division of Nursing conceptual framework.

“This project will not only strengthen the nursing curriculum, but will demonstrate accomplishment of goals that interface with the strategic plans of Louisiana Tech and the College of Applied and Natural Sciences,” Moore said. “Goals that Ms. Hood and Ms. Owens have achieved are exemplary and I applaud them for their work on this project.”

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