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Featured Profile: Laurel Despins


Laurel Despins

University of Missouri researcher and clinician Dr. Laurel Despins works for patient safety in the intensive care unit and beyond.

Despins has extensive clinical experience working in acute care units and intensive care units (ICU). She has also served as a performance improvement professional, helping administrators modify processes to enhance patient outcomes.

Among other research projects, Despins has analyzed data from interviews with ICU nurses to better understand how they assess and detect patient risk. A frequent interdisciplinary collaborator, Despins was part of a team of MU researchers investigating the use of sensors to predict falls in the elderly. With colleagues from the School of Nursing, School of Medicine, Health Management and Informatics, and MU Informatics Institute, she is conducting an innovative pilot project to determine how applying data mining to electronic medical records can identify signals of patient deterioration that are detected early. The findings may guide education, process improvement efforts and technology development. Additionally, Despins and a researcher from the College of Engineering are working to better understand the implications of ICU nurse workflow and resources with regards to identifying patient risk.

Despins is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Midwest Nursing Research Society and Sigma Theta Tau International. She has won multiple awards including the Midwest Nursing Research Society’s Dissertation Award for Health Systems, Policy and Informatics.

Dr. Laurel Despins is an assistant professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine