On April 10, nursing professionals from around the region, including Seton Hall Ph.D. graduate Kathleen E. Zavotsky, Ph.D., R.N., gathered to discuss the latest developments in nursing practice and research at the 28th Annual Reinkemeyer Research Day. The conference is held in honor of the third dean of Seton Hall College of Nursing, Sister Agnes Reinkemeyer, who strongly emphasized the nurse's role in research.
The conference included a presentation by keynote speaker Charlotte Thomas-Hawkins, Ph.D., R.N., entitled "Facilitators and Challenges to Conducting Clinical Nursing Research." Other presentations covered topics as diverse as parental bereavement and hatha yoga for cardiac patients. The College of Nursing's Patricia Ruiz, D.N.P., R.N., Director of Clinical Affiliations and Career Development, presented on depression screening at Seton Hall's health center.
Seton Hall Ph.D. graduate Kathleen E. Zavotsky presented on "Bedside Registered Nurse Perception of Safety in the Practice Environment." The project surveyed nurses from the novice to the expert on the factors that keep their practice safe, including teamwork, education, and wellness. For her dissertation, Zavotsky focused on moral distress and coping mechanisms among emergency nurses, an outgrowth of 30 years as an emergency nurse.
The reputation and teaching methodologies were what attracted Zavotsky to Seton Hall's Nursing Ph.D. program.
"I became interested in the Ph.D. program at Seton Hall because of its high reputation, but also because it offered face-to-face learning. Most other Ph.D. programs were only offered online, and that did not appeal to me. I wanted to see and be with my fellow students," Zavotsky said.
Zavotsky completed her Ph.D. requirements in 2015 and will officially graduate in May. She works as the Assistant Vice President of the Center for Professional Development, Innovation and Research at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. She had to juggle personal and professional responsibilities during her dissertation process.
"Kathleen knew the pace that she could handle and never wavered in keeping her Ph.D. studies in clear focus, while managing the often competing demands of full-time employment and life's responsibilities," said Dr. Bonnie Sturm, director of Seton Hall's Ph.D. program. "She utilized an individualized schedule of study in an area that mattered to her personally and professionally. This is something that we are proud that our program has been able to offer students."
Zavotsky said that, despite the rigorous academic requirements, research is essential to the future of nursing.
"Research and scholarship are the foundation of nursing practice. If we want to continue to move the art and science of nursing forward, we need to continue to evaluate our current practice and change it as needed in order to meet the needs of our patients, families and staff," she said.
Seton Hall University College of Nursing offered the first baccalaureate nursing program in New Jersey in 1937 and is CCNE-accredited through June of 2019. The graduate program was established in 1975, the Ph.D. program in 2006 and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program in 2009. U.S. News & World Report ranks Seton Hall University College of Nursing as one of the top graduate nursing programs in the country. The College of Nursing's mission is to educate baccalaureate-prepared generalists and advanced practitioners of nursing who aspire to be innovators and leaders in the nursing profession.