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    Categories: College of Doctoral StudiesCollege of Nursing & Health Care Professions

Nursing learner nominated for research award

Jean Cheek

By Ryan Kryska
GCU News Bureau

A Grand Canyon University online learner has been nominated by the hospital she works at for a Magnet Excellence in Clinical Research award.

Jean Cheek is a forensic nurse examiner coordinator at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System. She is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at GCU and has been successfully implementing her degree program research in the workplace — which caught the eye of the VCU Health System.

The health system wrote in its award nomination that Cheek “has made a significant contribution to evidence and evidence-based care to improve outcomes of victims of sexual assault. Her contributions are shaping how we practice … and care for this vulnerable population.” It added that her coursework and research have resulted in several clinical interventions that have been implemented or are in the planning stages.

The Magnet Recognition Program was developed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center to recognize health care organizations that provide nursing excellence, according to its website.

The award will be presented at the Virginia Nurse Association’s Gala on Sept. 22. Four other nurses have been nominated for the award, Cheek said.

“Being nominated for this award is a true honor,” Cheek said. “Our hospital promotes evidence-based practice, and many people engage in research. To think that the work that I have done (because of my work at GCU) has the attention of the hospital is humbling. I am very excited not only about the award, but that this award can bring attention to the field of forensic nursing.”

Cheek said the health system has implemented changes based on her research at GCU. Among the changes is that her level-one trauma center is developing a coping-skill training program for sexual-assault patients.

“Providing coping skills during the acute sexual assault exam decreased depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder,” Cheek said.

Another item from her studies is looking at telehealth. She said her team has been reaching out to sister hospitals to provide a sexual-assault examiner to help guide the exam. That way, patients don’t have to drive to an examiner.

“GCU has helped me become a better nurse on many levels,” Cheek said. “My research has not been limited to my project, so I feel that I have a more global perspective that I did not possess prior to this course. I am learning how to be a better nurse through understanding, education, awareness and leadership.”

Dr. Lisa Smith, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, said “increasing the number of doctoral prepared nurses in the clinical setting is critical to provide systems level leadership and to implement evidence-based research for improved patient outcomes.”

“The DNP degree at GCU is a rigorous program that provides graduates with relevant applicable knowledge to clinical, leadership and academic settings,” Smith said.

Cheek says she isn’t the only Lope in her hospital seeking a doctorate degree.

“I am fortunate because I have a great group of people that I have been with since the beginning,” she said. “We are supportive of each other and communicate often. We call ourselves the GCU Warriors because we will not give up the fight and determination that is needed to earn the right to be called doctor.”

Contact Ryan Kryska at (602) 639-8415 or ryan.kryska@gcu.edu.

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