Traci’s Advocacy for Patients is Being Featured in a National Publication

Mar 21 2024

During a time when the world faced adversity, Traci Phillips, an acute care nurse practitioner at Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital, saw possibility.

It was August of 2020 and Traci had enrolled in a doctoral program for nursing practice (DNP) during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. What she witnessed in her work sparked an idea in Traci for her DNP program project, which led to her being a soon-to-be-published author in Critical Care Nurse.

Traci had seen that the challenges the pandemic had caused presented opportunities for process improvements.

“It was an extremely challenging time for everyone in health care and many of our resources were spread thin, especially palliative care,” she recalls. “However, looking back, I had always felt there were opportunities to improve our process with palliative care consults, mainly related to the timing of when these conversations were taking place. There’s still a misconception between palliative and end-of-life care. Patients need identified when they have the opportunity to benefit the most from palliative services and not just in the last few days of life.”

So, as she pursued her DNP, Traci focused her project on how integrating a palliative care screening tool in the critical care setting could benefit patients and their health care teams.

Traci first joined our ministry in 2013. Her clinical background as a nurse practitioner is in pulmonary and critical care, but she said she’s been fortunate to learn valuable lessons from “some of the best palliative care nurses in our ministry” that helped her develop her DNP project.

Traci created a project plan for how a palliative care screening tool could identify a patient with unmet palliative care needs early enough so that the patient still had the capacity to participate in care discussions and appoint decision makers for advance care planning.

When Traci’s project chair encouraged her to submit her plan for publication, Traci was flattered but cautious.

“I have never been published before and had a novice understanding of the task I was undertaking,” she says.  

During the process, Traci gained an appreciation for what it takes to be published in a peer-reviewed journal as she worked on revisions and changes to the article that would become “Integrating Palliative Care Screening in the Intensive Care Unit: A Quality Improvement Project.”

Traci’s article will be published in the April 2024 issue of Critical Care Nurse and will also be available for continuing education hours through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

“When I received the announcement my manuscript was selected for publication, it was surreal,” Traci says.

Less surprised were those who knew Traci, along with her work ethic and dedication to patient care.

“Traci is such an asset to our team and has worked very hard to achieve her DNP, along with publishing her project,” Brandi Fields, our Cincinnati chief nursing officer, shares. “We’re very proud of her, but not surprised Traci would be selected by a prestigious publication in the critical care field. She and her project were deserving.”

Though Traci says she is “honored” to be published, the biggest honor is the opportunity to advocate for patients and families.

“Having crucial conversations with patients and families about what to expect with their illness is a tremendous responsibility and requires trust, understanding and listening. The earlier we can identify at-risk patients for these conversations and include key decision makers and families in the process, the better the outcome.”

Read more stories celebrating our team members during Women’s History Month.

Also, learn more about the palliative care services we provide at Mercy Health.

Related Posts

Please review our Terms of Use before commenting.