Salisbury University students on campus

Deanna Schloemer - Success Story

Deanna Schloemer HeadshotI am a D.N.P. student in the Family Nurse Practitioner Track at Salisbury University. As a part of our graduation requirements, we must complete an evidence-based practice change for our D.N.P. project. For my project, I am implementing the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit at the Lower Shore Clinic, an integrated outpatient primary care and mental health clinic located in Salisbury. The goal of the project is to introduce several key staff members at the clinic to a systematic, quality improvement process with the goal of improving health literacy in all populations served.

Quality improvement projects make changes in healthcare that will lead to better patient outcomes, better system performance and better professional development. Health literacy is defined as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. The Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit utilizes a universal “every patient, every time” approach to health literacy. I am measuring staff perceptions of health literacy practices, client perceptions of health literacy practices, and indicators of metabolic syndrome before and after implementing the quality improvement project. I am working very closely with Dr. Mary DiBartolo, my faculty chair, and Dr. Laurie Rockelli, my community committee member (also a retired SU nursing professor).

One of the health literacy improvements that was implemented at the clinic as a part of my project is a patient education system located in the waiting room. The large television in the lobby on which a loop of patient education videos is displayed was purchased by Terrapin Pharmacy, the parent company of the Lower Shore Pharmacy. Other initiatives are supported by the Lower Shore Clinic, itself.