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Nursing Chair of Excellence wins scholarly writing contest

The Lenora C. Reuther Chair of Excellence in Nursing at Austin Peay State University will have her manuscript appear in an upcoming issue of Tennessee Nurse after it was declared the winner of a recent statewide contest.

Dr. Patty Orr, assistant professor and Chair of Excellence, won the Tennessee Nurses Foundations 2010 Scholarly Writing Contest. She will receive a $1,000 cash award for her manuscript, titled How I Use Research in Daily Practice.
The Lenora C. Reuther Chair of Excellence in Nursing at Austin Peay State University will have her manuscript appear in an upcoming issue of Tennessee Nurse after it was declared the winner of a recent statewide contest.

Dr. Patty Orr, assistant professor and Chair of Excellence, won the Tennessee Nurses Foundation's 2010 Scholarly Writing Contest. She will receive a $1,000 cash award for her manuscript, titled “How I Use Research in Daily Practice.”

“With the many challenges of the present health care system and the need for innovation in solving access, quality and cost equations, nursing has the opportunity to provide solutions; however, proposed solutions must be tested through research,” Orr said in her manuscript. “In my nursing practice I look for evidence based actions that will positively impact patients' health and prevent disease progression.”

In her paper, Orr discusses the APSU School of Nursing pilot research project in partnership with the Clarksville Matthew Walker Community Health Center, for which she received funding through a Clarksville-Montgomery Foundation Grant. APSU faculty nurse practitioners and B.S.N. and M.S.N. students are functioning as a student/teacher nurse team in providing primary care and disease management for a small sample of the underserved population in Clarksville.

“We are then measuring change/improvement from baseline in disease specific outcomes over a two-year period for the patients we are serving,” she said. “This project is the main focus of the actual implementation of my research as described in the award paper.

Her work will appear in Tennessee Nurse, a publication of the Tennessee Nurses Foundation, in the near future.

Orr's tenure in nursing spans a 40-year period. Orr first joined APSU as a nursing instructor in 1975, promoted to assistant professor two years later and then to associate professor in 1984. At times while teaching, she worked as a staff nurse in surgical and pediatrics at the former Clarksville Memorial Hospital, now Gateway Medical Center.

In May 1987, Orr left APSU to become director of clinical programs at the ArthritisCare Centers in Nashville, owned by American Healthways Inc. She served in that position until September 1989 when she was promoted to vice president of clinical services for ArthritisCare Centers.

Orr then transferred to the company's Diabetes Treatment Centers of America in Nashville, working as vice president of clinical services until April 1998. She then became senior vice president of clinical integrity for Healthways Inc., Nashville, where she remained for 10 years before returning to APSU as Chair of Excellence and assistant professor.

Orr's areas of expertise are health maintenance, chronic disease and research. Her research interests include disease management and chronic care. She has written several journal articles and presented at numerous national conferences.

She has a Doctor of Education in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University, both her Master of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees from the UT Center for Health Sciences in Memphis, and an Associate of Arts in nursing from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo. -- Melony Shemberger