A 'Woman Worth Watching' in health and medicine

Michelle Troseth, nurse and Elsevier executive, honored for efforts to improve health care.

Michelle Troseth, MSN, RN, DPNAP, is one of many health-care professionals who work at Elsevier.Michelle Troseth was not exactly swept away by a high school guidance counsellor's suggestion that she sign on for a program that could lead to a career in nursing.

A top science and math student, she envisioned a future as a physician or perhaps a biotech researcher. Nursing didn't seem to have the professionalism that Troseth was seeking. But this was the late 1970s, and though more opportunities were opening to women, many were still being tracked into traditional fields of teaching and nursing.

Troseth decided to try the program anyway, working as a nurse's aide at a local hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loved it. The combination of medical knowledge and person-to-person caring struck a chord — a science-art, yin-yang that was at the young woman's core.

A nursing evolution

Today, Troseth is still a nurse, and also the Executive VP of the CPM Resource Center, a 29-year-old business based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that's dedicated to improving nursing care and health care in general. Among its chief objectives are an interdisciplinary approach to health care; adoption of well-designed electronic record systems that encourage health care professionals to use them; basing care on "evidence-based practice"; and creating "healthy work cultures" to support those that give and receive care.

Elsevier bought the company five years ago.

This early autumn has been a season of recognition for Troseth. She was named one of 11 Women Worth Watching in medicine and health care in the Profiles in Diversity Journal's September/October issue. And in October she will be inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, a position that will give her a role helping to shape health-care policy for the nation.

'Real world' not like school

Troseth decided she wanted more from nursing after three years in her first hospital, where she saw a striking difference between the practice of nursing and what she learned in nursing school.

What is evidenced-based practice?

Patients assume that the treatment they receive is based on solid scientific evidence, but that isn't always the case. Treatments for the same condition may vary according to region or hospitals within a region. Evidence-based practice — whether it is in the fields of nursing, medicine or mental health — seeks to base treatment on research that shows which practices are most effective for specific conditions and patients. The field is often referred to as "evidenced-based medicine," or EBM.

"Once you step into the real world it is hard to live by what you learned in school. You are kind of sucked into the way the hospital does things," she said.

That did not sit well with her. One day Troseth attended a talk given by a veteran nurse who was visiting local hospitals with a message that health care could be better and that together nurses could create environments for improvement. Troseth asked her supervisor if the hospital would participate in the effort and was told no. The young nurse decided she would leave the hospital. "I really wanted to be a part of something that was going to transform health care and transform the profession of nursing."

Recruited by a pioneer

Bonnie Wesorick, MSN, RN, DPNAP, FAAN

The pioneering nurse who brought the reform message was Bonnie Wesorick, one of Troseth's nursing school clinical professors at Grand Valley State University. Wesorick had founded the Clinical Practice Model Resource Center (now CPM Resource Center) and then recruited Troseth to join the program at Grand Rapids' Butterworth Hospital.

Soon the program would begin a six-year test pilot in 12 hospitals. It now works with nearly 400 hospitals in the US and Canada, and has about 55 employees, half working at its Grand Rapids headquarters, with the remainder distributed across the United States.

One of CPM's key tools is known as a Partnership Council, an infrastructure formed on the department levels of hospitals. Its design incorporates representatives from each discipline working in a department: say, a nurse, respiratory therapist, social worker and physician at a neo-natal unit. The teams are led by unit staff members who partner with managers.

"This really engages the people who work there and they love it; it is a healthy work process," Troseth said.

Michelle Troseth

  • Executive VP and Chief Professional Practice Officer at Elsevier CPM Resource Center
  • Bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from Grand Valley State University
  • Recognized as a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academies of Practice
  • Married, with three sons.

Troseth's dedication to health care spills over beyond her workday. She's a board chair of the TIGER Initiative (Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform), a nonprofit group that works to involve nurses and nursing students in the digital transformation of health care. In addition, she and her husband are co-chairs of an organization to establish an academic institution at her alma mater to conduct research into health-care improvements. The center is named The Bonnie Wesorick Center for Healthcare Transformation, after Troseth's mentor. Wesorick is still connected with CPM Resource Center, serving as chairman emeritus.

More change coming

Troseth said she is excited about the next frontiers for the CPM Resource Center, including opportunities presented by national health-care reform and prospects for bridging gaps in health care by bringing together practitioners and academics.

"We are partners in how to transform health care with hospitals," she said. "We bring the lessons of 29 years of learning so people don't have to reinvent the wheel."29 years of learning so people don't have to reinvent the wheel."

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