Meet Alisha

Nov 1, 2018

Our featured interprofessional collaborator for November/December 2018 is Alisha Peterson, BSN, RN, CCRN.

Alisha Peterson, BSN, RN, CCRN is a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student in the Family Nurse Practitioner track at Washington State University. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pacific Lutheran University in 2014, and has since worked as a Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CCU) at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC).

Working in the CCU has led her to develop a passion for cardiology, and especially the growing heart failure population. She is also passionate about improving health literacy for her patients and advocating for rural and underserved populations. Her goal as a future Nurse Practitioner is to utilize her experiences and passions to empower patients to lead healthier lives, while continuing her work to improve the care for those living with heart failure.

Alisha has been working with an interprofessional grant team led by Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, FAAN, to integrate an interprofessional Heart Failure management protocol into practice at outpatient clinics treating underserved patients with heart failure. Alisha will be presenting her work at the 2019 Western Institute of Nursing Research Conference in San Diego, CA. 

 “Alisha has done a remarkable job of spearheading the collaborative development of an outpatient Heart Failure management protocol with colleagues from SeaMar. This work has tremendous potential to streamline and improve outpatient heart failure care in their clinics, and can serve as a model for translation to other outpatient partner clinics,” said Kevin O’Brien, MD, the Service Director of Inpatient Cardiology at the University of Washington Medical Center and Professor of Medicine with the UW Department of Cardiology.

“Alisha is knowledgeable, creative, caring, and resourceful.  Her participation in this project has been invaluable!” shared Erin Blakeney, PhD, RN, UW School of Nursing Clinical Professor and evaluation lead on the interprofessional grant team.

“Alisha’s professionalism and expertise while working with Sea Mar clinic staff has been exceptional. Whether she is presenting to physicians and senior administrators, or holding in-person training sessions with care coordinators and clinic assistants, she has demonstrated a great ability to engage with audiences and champion interprofessional practice for heart failure care,” noted Megan Miller, MEd, MPH, Program Operations Specialist at CHSIE and Alisha’s project mentor.   

Read our interview with Alisha about her work as an interprofessional team leader and clinic educator below.

CHSIE: How and why did you become involved with Interprofessional Education (IPE)/Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP)?

Alisha: I was lucky enough to become involved with IPE/IPCP during spring of 2018 when pursuing a direction for my DNP project. The DNP project can take many forms, but it is most often a quality improvement project which involves identifying a clinical need or gap in practice and examining the evidence to create a transformational change in practice. Having worked at UWMC in the CCU for almost five years now and having a passion for working with the heart failure population, I sought out to find a project where I could continue to learn about and improve the care of this population. I also wanted to make sure that all this time spent did not just meet my project requirements, but also helped to address a real need in the community.

I met with several wonderful leaders at UWMC who discussed project ideas with me and introduced me to other helpful contacts. Through a chain of connections, I eventually met with Dr. Brenda Zierler and Dr. Erin Blakeney who so kindly allowed me to become involved in a collaboration between University of Washington Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education, Research and Practice (CHSIE), the UW Regional Heart Center, and Sea Mar Community Health Centers. My role within this project has been helping to create standardized provider guidelines for the management of heart failure for Sea Mar as well as helping them to create a workflow that reflects this best practice for outpatient heart failure management.

CHSIE: What do you believe are the benefits of IPE/IPCP? 

Alisha: Working at an academic medical center and studying to be an advanced practice provider, I have always learned about and witnessed the importance of interprofessional collaboration in enriching education and delivery of care. However, since I have become more involved with IPCP through my DNP project, it has become more apparent to me just how beneficial it is in forming effective teams to improve the delivery of care. I have seen firsthand how powerful it is when interprofessional staff come together to provide unique, valuable input when implementing a new project. For example, the majority of my experience is limited to inpatient care, so input from UW Cardiologists that work in clinic as well as Sea Mar’s medical assistants, care coordinators, and providers has been essential in creating these heart failure guidelines and workflow.

CHSIE: What has been the most memorable experience or highlight of leading IPE/IPCP so far?

Alisha: It has been incredibly memorable these past few months working closely on this Sea Mar project with Megan Miller, Program Operations Specialist, and the other members of the project team at UW and Sea Mar. I have learned so much from all of these people, and it has been rewarding seeing our work evolve from the initial meetings and drafts to final documents and presentations that will be integrated into practice to positively impact provider workflow and patient outcomes. Additionally, I enjoyed serving on the panel for the Northwest Heart Failure Collaborative (NWHFC): Project ECHO in June and experiencing how the live webinars are conducted with professionals who can join remotely to engage and ask questions.