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Hear From Our MSN Leadership & Management Students

MSN Project Optimizes Patient Safety, Enhances Student Career

Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) in the ICU became much safer and dramatically less costly for hemodynamically unstable patients as a result of the MSN project completed by Jason Mattson.

The project entailed changing the CRRT fluid from normal saline to PrimaSol, an electrolyte enriched solution.  Normal saline in the replacement process stripped the patient’s natural electrolytes, causing the ICU nurse to continually replace them.  The ICU nurse also had to treat the patient’s physiological responses to the low electrolyte levels, such as fast or slow heart rates, and draw blood from the patient for frequent lab tests.  

When the CRRT was changed from normal saline to PrimaSol, the overall change to the patient was immediate.  Electrolytes stabilized, the length of stay in the ICU decreased, as well as the length of time the patient was hemodynamically unstable and requiring CRRT.  

After nearly a year of review, the change resulted in an estimated savings of $2200 per day to the patient and an average of $10,000 per patient stay while in the ICU.  With the change in CRRT solution, the number of nursing care hours in the ICU was reduced by 50% in a 12 hour shift and the number of required electrolyte lab results dropped from 12 to 2 per shift.  These project findings suggested significant patient safety, financial, and work benefits for ICU patients, the ICU unit, and ICU nurses.

After finishing his MSN, Jason received two promotions in the first year and is now the Team Leader of the Intensive Care Unit, SWAT and Eagle 3 Flight Team.  He credits the classes and professors from the MSN program as significantly helping in his career advancement.

Student Testimonials

What was the most valuable aspect of the program?

"I think for me the most valuable thing was to learn techniques to find evidence that are relevant to the project you are working on. Take the time to coordinate with the library staff at the campus as they are knowledgeable of keyword searches. The reason to do this is as you use more keywords in searches, you will find the most relevant information … to support your project. In the beginning I fought this fact, because I did not think that evidence was necessarily important all of the time. I found … that the more evidence I had, the more my research and project made sense. Embrace evidence in your new role as a leader! Most of all embrace the journey through this MSN program as it will open you up to more possibilities in your career."  - James, 2019‚Äč

"The ease of being able to do it from home. Also, the instructor’s commitment to student’s success. I also think the practicum taught me so much and I liked being able to have a say in the sight. Being able to do mine at a local mental health facility with a leader helped build my knowledge on correctional nursing and mental health." - Hannah, 2017

"Truly I enjoyed the preceptor - mentorship opportunity. It broadens your perspective on leadership styles and interpersonal relationship building. Watching in action how other leaders manage and interact with diverse individuals is helpful as I was continuously learning facets of relationship building; negotiation; inspiration; etc." - Pam, 2015

What from your MSN courses applies to your current career?

"The process of initiating and following through on process changes.  My Masters Project was a huge undertaking that continues to have a direct patient and financial impact on our health system.  This has allowed me to take on other process changes with ease." - Jason, 2015

"Research - the what and the how and the why. Knowing how to get the evidence; how to do the investigation; and then package it up to tie the pieces together. This is so important in nursing practice as you are always looking for better more efficient ways to do things while still achieving safe and quality outcomes." - Pam, 2015

“The thing I recall and have used the most is the information on how to design and present a budget; how to develop a SWOT analysis; and  how to understand return on investment and many other business aspects for planning and strategy.” - Roxanne, 2015

How has your MSN degree advanced your career?

"I was already in a leadership role when I started the MSN program. While completing my master’s, I experienced multiple emotions which ranged from frustration to excitement, ultimately ending with a feeling of great accomplishment. What assisted in my success was the development of key relationships (networking). For example, I was careful to choose a master’s project committee that I knew would balance my strengths and weaknesses well and took the time to carefully choose a topic that I was passionate about and my project site would benefit from. I did not realize the true benefit of the steps I was taking until I neared the end of the MSN degree. After the data were collected and the manuscript was written, I was able to reflect on what I had accomplished and how the experience had benefited me both personally and professionally."  -  Kristy, 2019

"I worked as a staff nurse in mental health and after MSN graduation, and then I worked for two years as a quality project coordinator. I was next promoted to the Director of Compliance and Risk Management at an inpatient mental health facility I was then recruited to go back to another health system for a management position as the Safety Officer, and love getting to work on a variety of patient and staff safety initiatives.  I am also currently studying for the Certified Professional in HealthCare Quality (CPHQ) exam and am hoping to sit for the exam in the next few months.. I want to thank each of you (the faculty members) for supporting me throughout the MSN program and say that I truly believe it was the MSN program that helped me to be prepared to tackle this new and exciting role. So, again, thank you.” -  Allison, 2017

"I was the Assistant Director of Healthcare Services at a multifaceted senior living community during my MSN. In a year, I accepted a new position with an orthopedic clinic as case manager, managing our bundle payment program. I am loving it so far, really enjoying educating and helping my patients navigate through their care, and hopefully being a part of a solution for Medicare. I am still teaching LPN clinical courses at a local college too. It is a really fun job! Recently, I was invited to National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to participate in a committee to discuss LPN practice act, this will be in January 2019. Very exciting stuff going on for me, and as always, very busy!” -  Jennifer, 2017

"I've had two different leadership positions since completing my MSN. First, I served as the Executive Director of Palliative Care and Pediatrics (in a southern state). I recently relocated to Wisconsin and have taken a wonderful position as the Vice President of Post-Acute Care. I oversee hospice, home health, home infusion, Durable Medical Equipment, respiratory, home sleep, palliative and long-term care." - Denise, 2015