First Pediatric Nurse Scholar Hired

May 15, 2017 — The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing and the American Family Children’s Hospital are pleased to welcome Anne Ersig, PhD, RN, as the organizations’ first jointly appointed pediatric nurse scholar. In this new, shared position between the two organizations, Ersig will advance child and family nursing by integrating nursing research and system-wide leadership development efforts.

Ersig comes to Madison from Pennsylvania, where she served as a nurse researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the past 15 months. For the six years prior to that she was an assistant professor at the University of Iowa College of Nursing, where she earned her PhD and pursued research on the genomics of chronic stress and anxiety.

“The future of nursing and health care hinges on the intersection of research and practice,” says Dean Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “This position is another way in which we can link discoveries generated through our research with evidence gathered in practice at the hospital to make practical system changes that advance patient care.”

Scott states that this jointly appointed position reflects a willingness of both organizations to innovate and collaborate in the interest of the nursing profession and health care overall, and she is proud to help establish and advance this partnership model for other schools and colleges of nursing and hospitals.

The pediatric nurse scholar is the first joint position created through the formal partnership agreement that aims to improve health outcomes for individuals, families and communities by improving nursing education, practice, and leadership and facilitating research.

Barb Byrne, DNP, RN, PPCNP-BC, vice president of clinical operations at American Family Children’s Hospital, says the position itself reflects the hospital’s deep commitment to evidence-based practice and research translation.

“We want to foster a sense of inquiry among our nurses and reinforce that they have the ability to contribute to the improvement of care,” Byrne says. “Their impact is felt by our patients and their families, and it reaches beyond the walls of our hospital.”

Byrne explains that Ersig will contribute to efforts to develop best practices for the interprofessional care teams at American Family Children’s Hospital, and she also will guide the dissemination of those best practices throughout the health care system. “In that way, this role is pivotal to our ability not only to deliver exceptional care for children with complex health care needs in our own hospital but also to develop advancements for pediatric care throughout the country and around the world,” Byrne says.

“This position is exceptionally forward-thinking and anticipates the future of nursing research, scholarship and evidence-based practice,” Ersig says. “In addition, the position—and the partnership that created it—aligns with the National Institute of Nursing Research’s vision for the future of science that encourages more partnership between those who are experts in generating nursing knowledge and those who are experts in translating and applying it.”

Ersig formally assumed her new role on Monday, May 15.

Established in 1924, the School of Nursing is the leading nursing research institution in Wisconsin. The school offers a traditional undergraduate nursing program, an online RN-to-BSN completion program in coordination with other UW System schools, an accelerated second degree BSN program, a doctor of nursing practice program, a PhD program, and several graduate certificates.

An integral part of UW Health, American Family Children’s Hospital is a comprehensive pediatric medical and surgical center featuring nationally recognized pediatric specialists in a wide range of fields, as well as a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, Transplant Surgery Program, children’s cancer services and more.