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 WSU-Rochester's Erin Martin leads research project at Mayo Clinic

​Erin Martin

Research project hopes to better educate and inform about pain relief options for pregnant women at labor stage
Erin Martin has children of her own so she knows there are many decisions that need to be made when preparing to have a baby, especially regarding pain relief options for labor and delivery.  She also works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at Mayo Clinic, which accentuates her understanding of the choices that are available, and assists her in helping patients make these important decisions.
In her final year of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Winona State University-Rochester, Martin is focusing much of her attention on an educational needs assessment survey that she believes will help her and her colleagues provide the most effective education and information to patients who are beginning to formulate their birth plans.  She will graduate in May 2013.
“There is a common theme of questions and misconceptions that patients have related to pain relief options for labor and delivery,” Martin said.  “What I’m trying to do is evaluate our (Mayo Clinic’s) current system of patient education, to see what we’re doing well, and where improvements can be made.  My ultimate goal is to help patients understand what their pain relief options are, including the risks and benefits of each option; this will hopefully lead to improved patient satisfaction with the labor and delivery experience.”
Martin began her project by developing a formal needs assessment survey that will be distributed to 100 women who have delivered babies at Mayo since January of 2012.    She will combine the survey results with expert recommendations for patient education to determine how to most effectively educate expectant parents about pain relief options for childbirth.
“My hope is to eventually create a full, multi-modal patient education module that is presented to patients in the prenatal period.  Receiving accurate information will enable expectant parents to choose the pain relief option that is best for them.” she said.
Her efforts are part of a patient-centered approach that Mayo Clinic is famous for worldwide and is consistent with the aims of current health care initiatives, including, “providing patients with accurate, evidence-based information so that they can make informed decisions.”
Once approved by the appropriate institutional committees, the survey will be implemented in the OB clinic, likely by October 1.  By January or February of 2013, she hopes to be in a position to make recommendations to Mayo’s section of patient education focused on prenatal education.  
Her work in this project has been complemented greatly by her time spent in the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program at WSU-Rochester.  Her goal in the DNP program is to develop skills and gain knowledge to translate existing research into clinical practice.
“The DNP program has provided me with a more global view of clinical practice,” Martin said.  “It has helped me understand the process of looking at evidence and critiquing it as either solid or less than ideal research.  I now have a more thorough understanding of the steps involved in promoting clinical practice change.”
By 2025, the American Academy of College of Nursing will require that the DNP be the entry level of education into practice for all advanced practice nurses.   
“WSU’s program is rigorous . . . I’ve learned so much.  The faculty has been very approachable and knowledgeable.  The campus facilities are great and the educational experience has been outstanding,” she said.  “There is great value in learning to critique research, evaluate the current environment and know your stakeholders.  Ultimately, this understanding makes us better practitioners and leads to better patient care.”