COVID-19 & Nurse Scientists on the Front Line: Ann Deerhake

Ann Deerhake, DNP, RN, CNL, CCRN 
The Ohio State University

Please describe your work with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
As a Doctor of Nursing Practice, my goal is to apply nurse scientist-generated research to current practice. This research shows that communication is key during times of crisis and change. My role as an online educator and nurse scientist during the COVID-19 pandemic is to facilitate healthy communication among everyone I interact with, including my students, colleagues, family and friends. I have worked in close online contact with faculty to continue our supportive online learning environment for students, as well as create new opportunities for exchange of information and stress relief. Many of our students are currently working within difficult healthcare conditions at present, so reassuring them both academically and professionally translates into supporting American healthcare as a whole.

My coursework as an online instructor changed little with the transition to all online learning at my university, which has allowed me to work with other faculty to make changes to existing courses. Additionally, by creating simple online mini-courses, I have worked to educate my grandchildren, their friends and other members of my family regarding ways to communicate face-to-face via the internet and how to use these fun learning environments as stress-reducers and relationship builders in this time of social distancing. One of my most enjoyable activities has been creating and sending a daily ""Cabin Song and Dance Fever"" video to my community choir friends, encouraging them to be well, exercise their bodies and communicate positively with one another. COVID-19 has certainly taught us much about the importance of being communication innovators!

Please give us information about your background and history as a nurse scientist. 
I don't have a large history as a nurse scientist. What I do have is almost 30 years of bedside nursing experience in critical care nursing and 9 years of concurrent online nursing educator experience. My recent DNP project and career EBP application goal is focused on improving intradisciplinary nursing communication, which I strongly believe is a critical skill to be taught to all nurses and honed within all nursing roles. The lack thereof is especially noticeable during times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

What else would you like the public to know about your role or the role of nurse scientists in the fight against COVID-19?
To facilitate the American quest for wellness, it is simply not enough to find a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 or to treat those afflicted. As nurse scientists, we are charged with looking at all aspects of how COVID-19 continues to affect the American people both physically and psychologically. The questions to be answered are what have we learned from this pandemic and how can we apply this learning to future nursing practice for the betterment of all?

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