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Her research sparks new ways of thinking

Rochester Business Journal
February 26, 2010

Gail Ingersoll is constantly challenged and rewarded by her colleagues.

"I have always enjoyed my role as nurse, whether at the bedside during my early years or as a professor, administrator and researcher in later life," says Ingersoll, director of clinical nursing research at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "Each role has allowed me to grow as an individual and to participate in the development of others."

Those who know Ingersoll call her a pioneer in the field of nursing research, as well as a prolific grant writer. They say that through her work, Ingersoll helps provide the highest quality of care to patients and their families while boosting morale and retention of staff.

Ingersoll is driven by the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to the well-being of individuals, from patients and their families to the nurses in the field who care for them.

In her current role, Ingersoll says, she most enjoys facilitating the work of others and seeing them develop and expand their skills and directions for the future.

"Knowing that I am a part of that development process is very rewarding," she says.

Ingersoll began her nursing career at URMC in 1971 as a staff nurse in the surgical intensive-care unit shortly after graduation from SUNY College at Alfred. By 1977, she was an assistant clinician; by 1979, nurse manager.

She later joined the faculty of UR's School of Nursing and began working on her doctorate.

During much of the 1990s, Ingersoll held various posts outside the state. She was a professor and department chair at the Indiana University School of Nursing and later, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, associate dean for research and director of the school's doctoral program. Ingersoll returned to URMC in 2000.

Mark Taubman M.D., slated to become dean of UR's School of Medicine and Dentistry on March 1, notes that Ingersoll's work has led to numerous improvements at the medical center and in patient care.

Ingersoll has implemented and oversees a research internship program. Projects undertaken by the research interns have led to improvements at hospitals, says Patricia Witzel, chief nursing officer at Strong Memorial Hospital and associate vice president at URMC.

For example, one intern's project resulted in the revision of national standards of care for the management of patients undergoing radiation for cancer treatment. Another study facilitated by Ingersoll resulted in the development of a method for assessing pain in patients who are unable to respond because of intubation; it is being used in more than 100 hospitals around the world.

A grant that Ingersoll oversaw in the adult critical-care units resulted in a significant decrease in vacant positions and the turnover of nurses in intensive-care units, Witzel says.

Ingersoll's "passion for research and evidence-based practice has been the catalyst to educate and energize our bedside nursing area, resulting in high-quality, family-centered care," Witzel says.                

Health Care Achievement Awards section; 2/26/10 (c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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