Interesting article! Research key piece of care for burn patients | | Cincinnati.Com

Nursing might have seemed like a safe career choice for anyone who wanted to avoid having to write another research paper after graduating from school.

But Laura Fowler now finds herself finishing a manuscript she plans to submit to the Journal of Burn Care, a publication of the American Burn Association.

When asked how she likes the writing process, Fowler, a research nurse at Shriners Hospital for Children, laughed. "It's hard," she said.

It's never particularly easy, but Fowler, 46, finds the work of serving the needs of pediatric burn patients to be rewarding. The nursing jobs at the 30-bed Corryville facility vary from the immediate care of acute patients to the research side.

Fowler has been doing research since 1992. "We have different studies looking at nutrition, wound healing, infection, sleep," Fowler explained. "We screen any new burn patient for inclusion and exclusion criteria. Each study has specifics we want to look at, whether it's the burn size or the age. We get consent and follow the protocol, do Q & A things, burn diagrams - mainly working with the patients furthering our knowledge of burn care."

One of Fowler's recent research projects involved studying the addition of Vitamin D to IV drips. A study on sepsis and infection in relation to the drawing of C-reactive protein is the subject of her paper-in-progress.

"The medical and the scientific staff really support nursing on whatever efforts we want to do in research and to further our knowledge in burn care. The bottom line is we want to help the kids get better," she said.

Fowler switched to research after coming to Shriners in 1986 as a floor nurse. That job included working in the intensive-care unit and flying patients to Cincinnati from as far as Florida as part of the hospital's transport team.

"Our patient population is not primarily from Cincinnati. If there's a patient in Florida, that hospital will call and refer the patient to us. Depending on the acuity of the patient - the sicker they are or the bigger the burn - we like to go down and get them ourselves, because care of a burn patient is different, and some transport teams aren't as well-versed in burn care as us since that's what we do," she said.

When a job opened in research, she interviewed. "Part of it was just needing a break from the intensity of patient care, and the other part of it was the interest in research," she said. "I've always been interested in having a question and finding the answer to it. The nice thing about Shriners is you can move around within the hospital without leaving the hospital as a nurse."

Despite switching from patient care to research, Fowler hasn't broken the bond she formed years ago with patients.

"There are kids who I took care of on the floor, who have graduated from high school last year, but as they would come in I would make it a point to say hi to their families. You get to build a relationship with them," she said.

That's one of the reasons Fowler doesn't plan on leaving Shriners any time soon.

"I don't know if this makes me sound like I'm not goal-oriented, but I'm really very content here," she said. "I love Shriners. They do a great job with kids and their families. We serve a very great need, and I like the way Shriners meets those needs. Not only do we take care of the kids that are burned, but we try to do burn prevention. We treat the whole picture, and not just a portion of it. It's nice to have that support behind you from the hospital you work at."