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CCTSI research nurse wins top award at national conference

Research nurse Lauren Zausmer
Lauren Zausmer with her award-winning poster.

Winter 2017​

By Wendy S. Meyer

​​When you ask Lauren Zausmer, BSN what she likes about research nursing, she quickly responds, “everything.” As a high risk labor and delivery nurse with 11 years under her belt, she recently made the transition to research nursing in the CCTSI’s Perinatal Clinical Translational Research Center (CTRC). 

This fall, she presented her very first research project at the Society of Clinical Research Associates. Based on her poster, judges asked her to present her abstract in a five minute talk—Does Research Nurse Attire Influence the Consent Rate of In-patient Pregnant Women? A Randomized Study. Despite Zausmer’s intense fear of public speaking, she won first place.

“I was blown away that I made top five, let alone that I won! I thought if I made top 50, that would be super cool,” Zausmer says. 

Zausmer came up with the idea for the study based on her experience of asking the patients—mothers in the high risk delivery units—for their consent to be in research studies. The consent rates were all over the place: some days there were lots of consents, other days there were none. She asked her four coworkers if they had the same experience. They did, but she didn’t know where to get started in order to find out why. 

She credits the research infrastructure on the Anschutz Medical campus with guiding her through the entire research process. Though she initially thought she would make it a quality improvement project, someone at Children’s Hospital Colorado encouraged to make this an IRB-approved research protocol. She was then assigned a nurse scientist, Terri Hernandez, PhD, and a biostatistician, Laura Pyle, PhD, to help her with the details. She said that the free office hours at COMIRB were essential and extremely helpful.  

“Every step of the way, somebody was helping me. If there was a roadblock, someone helped me. I feel like they treated me like a little baby bird!” Zausmer says.

Her hypothesis was that there would be a change in consent rates based on what the nurses were wearing during consent sessions. But they didn’t know what the change would be. What she found was that with the women overall, there was no change in the consent rate based on the nurses’ attire: scrubs vs. business casual. However, when breaking the results down by ethnicity, the consent rates did change based on what the nurses wore. African American women had a consent rate of 86 percent when the nurses wore business casual vs. a 12 percent consent rate when they wore scrubs. Conversely, Hispanic women had a 100 percent consent rate if the nurses wore scrubs vs 62 percent for business casual. The results have inspired Lauren to continue her research, which she says was a team effort. She loves her work in the CTRC because she knows that her efforts in clinical trials today help advance medicine and benefit patients in the future.

“Lauren and her Perinatal CTRC colleagues have shown once again that they are leaders in perinatal research,” say Dr. Bill Hay, medical director of the Perinatal CTRC.


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