Community Services

Putting Course Theory into Practice

Kimberly Daffern, a student at The Chang School, was able to turn her capstone project in the Certificate in Nursing and Interprofessional Healthcare Leadership and Management into a plan that directly benefited her position as a registered nurse with Emily’s House, a pediatric hospice in Toronto. 

As their client care resource nurse she has a lot of responsibilities, including managing the intake and discharge of children who are needing palliative care, with a focus on respite, in a warm, home-like setting. Much of her work involves medication reconciliation — reviewing the patient’s medication to ensure the proper medication is added/changed/discontinued. This highly meticulous work was all done by hand and the nursing team would sometimes make errors when transcribing from one paper document to another. 

Coincidentally, while the Emily’s House quality improvement team was looking into this issue, Kimberly was taking the capstone course CVNU 370 – Change and Innovation, in which she had to develop a project plan that would help effect change for a nursing leadership/management issue. 

“This capstone project fell at the perfect time,” says Kimberly. “It gave me the opportunity to apply the theory from the last semester into this project, which correlated with the need of the organization to change the way we do our medication reconciliation.”

Kimberly set to work to develop a quality improvement form that would help reduce the medication errors at Emily’s House. She received lots of feedback and support from her instructor, David Kesselman, who would meet with the class online every week via an optional Zoom meeting. “We would bring all our questions to him (David) and bounce our ideas off him, all while he walked us through the project — it was so helpful.”

A photo of Kimberly Daffern, registered nurse and student at The Chang School.
Kimberly Daffern, registered nurse and Chang School student.

After conducting lots of research, engaging with her nursing colleagues, and getting feedback from her instructor, Kimberly created an electronic quality improvement form to streamline the medication reconciliation process. The form was officially put into practice in March 2021 and the entire Emily’s House team was thrilled with its ease and efficiency. Since then, the team has been conducting monthly chart audits to monitor the medication errors and so far it has been extremely low. 

Kimberly’s project is more than just an assignment and a grade — it will positively impact every family that comes into Emily’s House seeking help for their child’s complex health needs. Plus, Kimberly feels like the work she completed for her certificate will extend beyond the quality improvement form.

“This is a certificate program that you will actually use. It’s something that you can actually put into practice,” says Kimberly. “I’m working on another project at Emily’s House and I’m literally pulling everything I learned from the capstone into this new work project.”