Media Advisory: MedStar Washington Hospital Center Nursing Hosts Evidence-Based Practice Research Conference

nurses at conference


Thursday, March 9, 2017, 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.  


Catholic University of America, Pryzbyla Conference Center  


Evidence-based research is an increasing part of nursing practice, both in the Washington, D.C. area and nationally. Just what that research entails – and how to conduct and support that research in an acute care environment – will be among the topics at the 2nd Annual Nursing Evidence-Based Practice and Research Conference on March 9 at Catholic University. 

“The return of this event reflects rising interest in improving patient care with nursing practices rooted in evidence-based research,” notes Susan Eckert, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, senior vice president and chief nursing executive at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. “There is growing awareness that patient care has evolved to incorporate more data, more critical thinking and more literature review, as part of the broader effort to establish best practices.”

MedStar Washington Hospital Center and its Department of Nursing are committed to advancing nursing science and this conference is supported through its Center for Excellence in Nursing. The conference is organized by the Evidence-Based Practice and Research Council, part of the nursing Collaborative Governance structure.


 Speakers include:  

  • Shaunagh Browning, RN, FNP-BC, Georgetown University Medical Center
  • Katherine Patterson Kelly, PhD, RN, Children’s National Health System
  • Mihriye Mete, PhD, MedStar Health Research Institute
  • Regina Greer-Smith MPH, FACHE, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute


 To attend the conference or for more information, please contact: So Young Pak  at (202) 877-2748.   


I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

Each of our nursing associates at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a unique story about what drew them to nursing and what keeps them calling the Hospital Center home. In our I am Nursing series, we meet these amazing people, learn more about who they are and what inspires them, and celebrate their commitment to helping others heal. 

For MedStar Washington Hospital Center float nurse Tasha Zochert, nursing is a calling, not a job.  Zochert knows something about callings. She has a few of them.

You can see one of them – her passion for photography – on display at the Galesville MD, River Gallery show dedicated to the Maryland Blue Crab opening this weekend (Sept. 3).

Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs. 2016
Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs. 2016

Through a close family friend, Zochert was able to meet a crabbing boat at the dock in Chesapeake Beach and photograph them hauling in bushels of blue crabs. Despite taking more than 300 photographs, only two could be submitted for the gallery show.  The result: a photographic study of Maryland blue crabs, one of the Chesapeake’s renowned treasures.

The  photography, says Zochert, is something she happened upon after finishing her nursing degree.

“I took an elective photography class and my final project was on flowers,” she says. Encouraged by her family, teacher, and classmates, she began looking for an art gallery that would be willing to take on a novice photographer.

“As luck would have it, a local gallery’s next show was dedicated to flowers, so I framed two images, and sent them in,” she says. “When my flower photographs actually sold I realized, ‘I just became a professional photographer!’”

Zochert joined the Maryland Federation of Art and her photographs have been in galleries across the state.  While still “a far cry from Ansel Adams,” the photography she says, “isn’t about fame or money. But then,neither is nursing.”

Zochert’s call to nursing came almost as serendipitously as her photography. While living abroad with her family, (her mother was a clinical laboratory scientist on active duty with the military in Germany), Zochert began a paramedic program.  When she returned to the U.S., her credits would not transfer. 

“I didn’t want to have to start from scratch,” she recalls. On her way home from volunteering for an ambulance service she heard an ad on the radio that a hospital was hiring nurses. “I thought, ‘I could become a nurse and work in the emergency department!’” 

Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs 2. 2016
Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs 2. 2016

She enrolled in a local community college nursing program, and during her critical care rotation “a light bulb went off,” she says. “I thought, ‘This is where I’m supposed to be.’ I love the intensity and detail of critical care.”  She graduated top of her class, went directly into critical care, and now has nearly a decade of experience.

Zochert also loves the simple act of helping people. She jokingly calls her approach to patient care “Tasha’s ICU and Day Spa,” because she is known for doing manicures, washing, combing and braiding hair, shaving and trimming beards, etc.  “Sometimes there are so many machines required to care for the critically ill that it’s frightening for families to see. I always try to keep my patients clean, so the families can recognize their loved one beneath all the tubes and wires.”  Zochert is passionate about ensuring the fundamental dignity of each of her patients.

In October 2014, Zochert came to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s float pool, where nurses move from unit to unit to fill in where needed.  The uncertainty and challenge of not knowing anyone and the moving between different patients on surgical, burn and neurological units demanded flexibility.   Her critical care nursing skills were widely appreciated, and she was recently honored with the “Chief Nursing Executive Award for Patient Care.” 

Zochert says she bases her patient advocacy on one question: ‘Would I want me to be my nurse?’” 

Today, Zochert is capitalizing on the schedule flexibility afforded by the float pool to earn her BSN.  Zochert considers herself a “life-long student”  and has future aspirations of teaching or becoming an advanced practice nurse. It won’t happen right away, she notes. “I’m not ready to give up being at the bedside.”

Zochert’s photography is on view at the River Gallery at 1000 Main Street, Galesville, MD from September 3 through October 30, 2016.

I am Nursing

I am Nursing

I am nursing

Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

Breastfeeding: Providing Infants with Optimum Care from the Start of Life

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week!

This week, the Midwives of MedStar are celebrating World Breastfeeding Week from August 1-August 7. This year’s theme, “Breastfeeding: A key to Sustainable Development,” aims to raise awareness not only about the significant maternal and infant health benefits of breastfeeding, but also its advantages for a healthy planet.  While the marketplace may try to convince you otherwise, all a mother and baby really need to breastfeed is one another.  Certainly breast milk pumping and storage generates some consumer products and waste, but much less than what is associated with using breast milk substitutes.  Breast milk also is free and is always the right temperature for your baby.

One of the best ways to ensure you achieve your breastfeeding goals is to begin the conversation about how you will feed your baby with your partner and your provider early in your pregnancy.  Did you know that the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond infancy? In addition to providing disease-fighting antibodies, and all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first few months of life, babies who are breastfed have lower risks of asthma, lower respiratory infections, eczema, diarrhea, type II diabetes, childhood obesity and SIDS.  As for mom, it also lowers the risk of postpartum depression, anxiety, certain breast cancers and ovarian cancer.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, all nurses who work with new mothers and infants receive 20 hours of breastfeeding specific education and skills development.  We also have lactation consultants who help you and baby get off to a good start.  More important, the hospital has adopted the 10 best practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support breastfeeding mothers and infants, including immediate skin to skin time after delivery. 

It’s not unusual for some mothers who start the process of learning to breastfeed to feel nervous and tentative.  Yet with knowledgeable and support, these hesitant starts quickly blossom into successful feeding rhythms with a confident mother and content, healthy baby. 

For moms returning to work, be sure to review your insurance coverage.  Many plans under the Affordable Care Act cover electric breast pumps (with many covering lactation services as well). A good rule of thumb is to begin pumping about two weeks before returning to work, so the baby can get used to eating from a bottle and you can begin to build up a supply of stored breast milk.

Did you know that workplaces are required by law to provide adequate time and a clean, private place to pump (bathrooms don’t count). Ensure you have a refrigerator or cooler to store the breast milk until you return home.

Need more information? Check out the upcoming Baby Care & Breastfeeding Basics, District of Columbia Breastfeeding Resource Guide, the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, La Leche League and the World Health Organization for more information.

World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA).

Happy breastfeeding!


Have Questions?

Please call the Midwives of MedStar Washington Hospital Center at 202-877-2303 and ask to speak to a nurse coordinator.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

Our Nurses find Their “Center”

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, nurses celebrate Nurses Week with many activities that focus on professional development.

The reason: as the largest health care facility in the nation’s capital, the Hospital Center offers numerous training, specialty and incentive programs to help nurses “find their Center” by training and working in the nursing practice they most enjoy. If a nurse wants to take his or her practice in a new direction, the Hospital Center offers many ways to explore new nursing career choices.

The great variety of nursing practices here is one of the reasons more than a quarter of the 1,700 nurses have worked at the Hospital Center for more than ten years. Many of our new nurses come to nursing as a second career, often through a partnership we have with the George Washington School of Nursing’s Second Degree program.

The breadth and depth of our professional training programs gives the Hospital Center its reputation as one of the nation’s most innovative teaching and acute care medical institutions, with one of the largest nurse residency programs in the country.

The Hospital Center has a national reputation as a leader in nurse training in such specialties as cardiovascular, cancer, kidney disease and transplantation, neurosciences and in the emergency treatment of stroke, trauma and adult burn injury. Some of our specialized nursing environments include:

  • MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the only dedicated cardiovascular facility in Washington, D.C., and a leader in LVAD and cardiac surgical nurse training.
  • Level I Trauma Center supported by three helicopters with dedicated transport nursing teams
  • The Burn Center, the region’s only adult burn facility and dedicated burn ICU
  • Comprehensive Stroke Center, the first and only hospital in the Washington region with this designation
  • Award-winning neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)

Many of our nurses continue with their education outside the Hospital Center even as they work here. Some of the programs and services we offer include:

  • Tuition reimbursement program for education and conferences
  • Work schedule flexibility to accommodate our educational needs
  • The Center for Excellence in Nursing, one of the only dedicated professional development facilities for nurses in the country
  • A clinical advancement bonus program
  • A leadership academy for nurse managers to develop advanced skills
  • Dedicated nurse scientist support for nursing research and publishing
  • On-the-job support from an experienced Nurse Responder Team and managers who provide bedside assistance

While Nurses Week offers opportunities to thank and celebrate Hospital Center nurses, and to honor their expertise and clinical excellence, it also gives our nurses a chance to explore the many professional options that are available as they “find their Center.”

Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page HERE or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

A professional rugby player, a former ballet dancer and a volunteer who works with the homeless – all are also MedStar Washington Hospital Center nurses.  Learn more about their unique stories, what inspires them and why they are committed to helping others heal in our I am Nursing series.

Patrick Mirabella, MSN, RN, NE-BC: A Nurse Who Lives for the Unexpected

Patrick Mirabella never thought about nursing as a career during high school in Seattle.  A football player with an interest in science and math, Mirabella was focused on becoming a pilot. During his freshman year in college at an aeronautical school, however, it became clear that becoming a pilot wasn’t on his horizon.

“It just wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he explains. “So I started looking for careers that involved science and math, that would have me dealing with people and on my feet, and where I could come to work not knowing what to expect every day.”

He transferred to a nursing program and found it matched his goals.  He also missed the team sports atmosphere of football, so when an ultimate Frisbee teammate suggested he join the rugby team, Mirabella joined – even though he didn’t really know the sport. Mirabella hasn’t looked back. He completed his nursing degree, and has played rugby ever since.

He discovered MedStar Washington Hospital Center through the eye surgeon he worked with, and came to the Hospital Center to work in the outpatient Family Health Center. While there, he completed a master’s in Nursing Administration. Today he’s the nursing director for ambulatory surgical services, running the clinical operations in 16 outpatient clinics – some of them at the Hospital Center, and others in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. With health care’s increasing emphasis on preventive care, Mirabella says, outpatient services are growing so quickly that it fits perfectly with his interest in improvement and innovation.

“It’s continuous process improvement,” he says. “Nothing is static. You implement one new system and then another one needs attention. I am doing what I always wanted to do.”

Hillary Elliott, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA: Offering a Passion for the Arts that Translates to Nursing 

Hillary Elliott heard that Edward Woo, MD, Paul Corso, MD and the talented team of surgeons they had assembled for MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center were looking for a nurse manager. She recalls thinking that it would be worth moving to work with these world-renowned cardiac and vascular surgeons.

“The vascular and cardiac world is a very small community,” she says.” These surgeons are some of the most respected professionals in the country.”

So when a recruiter contacted her about working at the Hospital Center, she was on board. That was more than a year ago.

Today, the Texas native runs the cardiac, vascular, thoracic and endocrine surgery programs in the Hospital Center operating room. In addition to working with staff scheduling and overseeing the progress on more than 65 procedures a day, she manages supplies and instruments for theses intricate surgeries. “l’ll even scrub in to help out if needed,” she notes. “It’s never boring.”

Although her mother was a nurse practitioner, “As a teenager, you never want to do what your parents do,” Elliott laughs. So she threw herself into dance, and in her teen years was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet and other companies. “After a number of years, l realized it was only going to take me so far. Eventually, eventually my body would give out.” That’s when she moved into nursing.

Elliott believes nursing requires the same passion as dance. “Nursing is an art. It takes years and years to master your art form. In both nursing and dance, you stretch your abilities beyond what you think you can do. It takes that same dedication.”

The payoff: “You’re giving back to the community. There’s nothing like it.”


Learn more about some of our talented nurses at MedStar Washington Hospital center below. 




Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

Each of our nursing associates at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a unique story about what drew them to nursing and what keeps them calling the Hospital Center home. In our I am Nursing series, we meet these amazing people, learn more about who they are and what inspires them, and celebrate their commitment to helping others heal. 

Clory Morrison-Rosales, RN, likes helping people and being a nurse.

“I got both from my aunt,” she says.  A nurse in the 1940’s and 1950’s at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C., her aunt purchased several houses around the hospital and would provide housing for people who were recovering from nervous breakdowns, says Morrison-Rosales. “They would then get jobs, and begin the process of starting their lives again.”

Morrison-Rosales received her nursing degree from the University of D.C., then worked at George Washington University Hospital and at Washington Hospital Center before moving on to manage evening supervisors and staff  for MedStar’s MedStar Health Home Care.  She then worked at D.C. General Hospital. When D.C. General  closed in 2001, Morrison-Rosales returned to the Hospital Center, where she has worked in the intermediate nursery ever since. “All my friends were here, so it just made sense,” she says. She cares for infants that do not need the NICU but still are not quite ready to leave the hospital . “I like it because you’re helping  these babies mature enough to go home. “

She earned a certification as a breast feeding counselor, and loves working with new mothers on caring for their babies. In fact, it is watching mothers care for babies that inspired her to begin providing temporary living space for homeless moms or veterans in a house she owns. “I did it from my heart, so they could have peace of mind. At one point this homeless person was a newborn, and his or her mother didn’t want them to have this kind of life. Anything we can do to help people lead productive lives is a good thing.”

 Mark Marino, MSN, BSN, is a humanitarian at heart and a great motivator. 

Within 72 hours of arriving in Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, the Navy Hospital ship USNS Comfort accepted more than 250 patients.  With 12 operating rooms, 1,000 beds and several intensive care units, the population doubled again only a few days later. “There was a huge need for a comprehensive medical facility to treat what was mostly crush injuries, as the country’s main hospital had been destroyed”  notes Mark Marino, MSN, BSN.

As the chief nursing officer on the ship, Marino also saw the need for basics after the complete devastation in the country. “Everything was gone, buried and destroyed,” he recalls. “People needed water, clothes, and especially something to protect their feet as they walked through rubble.”

Marino sent his mother an email asking for help and relief agencies also began bringing donations to aid in recovery.  “Pallets of boxes started arriving, and they had everything – clothes, shoes, blankets. People from all over the U.S. started sending things.”  Marino found a clinical use for a pretty pair of sandals. “One little girl had a leg injury and she wouldn’t walk even though she needed to.  I told her we save pretty shoes for little girls who can walk.  It was the motivation she needed.  She put on the little pink sandals and started her rehab.”

These days Marino motivates nurses to focus on reducing injuries and infections for patients and Hospital Center employees.  He consults with patients, talks with their families, nurses and physicians to make certain everyone understands the steps needed to reduce infections and prevent injuries.  As a clinical specialist, he works on staff safety initiatives and heads a committee involved with promoting safety for everyone. “The Hospital Center has committed these resources to our patients and staff, investing in safety and mitigating risk,” he says. “It shows our extraordinary dedication to patients and staff and our promise to provide excellent and safe care.”


Learn more about our celebrated nurses at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.




Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI) FREE

CLABSI Free - A Quality & Safety Milestone 

This week, Unit 2G, a medical intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, achieved a major milestone: reaching two years without a Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI).

Central lines (catheters) are tubes that help patients get the medications or fluids they need and allow medical professional to draw blood for testing.  But they also present a particular risk for developing infections, because they are inserted into large veins in the neck, chest or groin.  While these lines are necessary, they must be monitored continuously and carefully.  Medical professionals have been working hard to reduce CLABSI rates in hospitals, and from 2008 to 2013, there was a 46% decrease in CLABSI in hospitals across the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Yet, an estimated 30,100 CLABSI cases still occur in U.S. hospitals each year.

How did the physicians and nurses on 2G keep CLABSI at bay for two years (and counting)?  They credit dedicated teamwork for their success. "The most important step is collaboration and communication between all team members,” notes Joshua Wansley, RN, a nurse leader on the unit. “Twice a week, nurse leaders and attending physicians check on every patient and assess if the central lines are still needed for that patient.”

In fact, nurse leaders take the extra step of reviewing central line records every day to verify that the line is needed. “The goal, of course, is that you only have lines in that are absolutely necessary," says Wansley. "That one extra review could show a line ready to be removed.  If it comes out, the risk is gone.”

Resource nurses -- the nurses who manage the workflow on a shift -- keep careful records of patients' central lines. Nurses are tested every year on their skills for changing the dressings around the central lines and other protective steps needed to keep patients safe.  “We also talk about it all the time, so we are all very aware of the current situation with central lines. Our goal is to go that extra mile  to protect the patients," Wansley concluded.

And at the Hospital Center, every patient unit posts its current record in a highly visible place for all to see.  Much like a construction site that records the number of days since its last employee injury, our patient units post the number of days since the last CLABSI.  Keeping it top of mind among every team member -- and among patients and families -- will help 2G and every other unit at the Center prevent these life-threatening infections.   

For Patients:  What You Can Do to Help Prevent CLABSI

Patients can also play a role in preventing CLABSI. The CDC suggests:

  • Speak up about any concerns so that those providing your care are reminded to follow the best prevention practices.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if the central line is absolutely necessary. If so, ask them to help you understand the need for it and how long it will be in place.
  • Pay attention to the bandage and the area around it. If the bandage comes off or if the bandage or area around it is wet or dirty, tell a healthcare providerright away.
  • Don’t get the central line or the central line insertion site wet.
  • Tell a healthcare provider if the area around the catheter is sore or red or if the patient has a fever or chills.
  • Avoid touching the tubing and do not let any visitors touch the catheter or tubing as well.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY:  The single most important thing that everyone can do is wash their hands.  Everyone who comes into the room to visit or care for a patient with a central line must wash their hands—before and after they visit.  If you are a patient, speak up if you see someone who doesn't follow this very important rule.  If you are a family member or visitor, be mindful of the rule, follow it, and speak up if others don't. It's simple -- and effective.