"It's about bringing research to the bedside so that it can benefit patients more."
Providing continuous translation
Every day provides Jane Schaller with the opportunity to translate a new procedure or the operation of a new piece of equipment for Mayo staff. Schaller, who works as a nursing education specialist for the CTSA's Clinical Research Units (CRUs), orients research support technicians and nurses to their jobs, and provides CRU staff with ongoing education and training to maintain their competencies. Her domain includes the mobile unit — a cadre of nurses and research support technicians who help researchers conduct studies outside the CRU facilities, such as in the intensive care unit, at another Mayo facility or in the community.
Schaller — who began her career at Mayo 20 years ago as a nurse — also works with investigators and study teams to facilitate the educational components of research studies. For instance, if there's a new piece of equipment to use or a new procedure required, she will instruct researchers in how to use it. So who teaches the teacher? Schaller is taught by representatives of the companies that manufacture the equipment and then she translates that into a Mayo format for employees. She also helps investigators understand the equipment and staff capabilities of the CRUs.
The training and education pieces of Schaller's job help with the CTSA mission to transform research. "The mobile studies, especially, are a challenge for nurses because we need to go off to other units, like ICUs, and that's not in our regular skill base," Schaller says. "It's about bringing research to the bedside so that it can further benefit patients. It involves getting the nurses comfortable with the different units and getting the staff comfortable with the research project."
Schaller recently completed a five-year project that involved working with CRU informatics team and Mayo Clinic pharmacies to develop an electronic physician order template. Instead of writing or typing an order, the orders are entered into a Web-based template in the computer system. "The orders are easier to read, they are more detailed, and they have more review and oversight," says Schaller. "This leads to improved patient safety."