Fernanda Raphael Escobar Gimenes de Sousa, PhD, MSN, BSN

Nurse Researcher

Fernanda Fernanda Raphael Escobar Gimenes de Sousa, PhD, MSN, BSN, sits in her office wearing her lab coat.

Fernanda Raphael Escobar Gimenes de Sousa, PhD, MSN, BSN, of Rho Upsilon Chapter in Brazil was awarded a research grant for her study Nasogastric/Nasoenteric Tube-Related Incidents in Hospitalized Patients: A Multicenter Prospective Cohort Study. She shared what led her to pursue nursing, what she’s doing today, and details on her research.

At the age of 9, I underwent an appendectomy and despite the pain I felt, I couldn't help admiring that new world that was presented before my eyes. As the nursing staff guided me on the stretcher through the corridors of the hospital in my hometown, I watched the movement around me, and I was amazed. I was even more amazed by all those nurses around me and surrounded by medical devices and equipment unknown to me. I remember that I kept smiling, dazzled by that scenario. After the surgery, I was hospitalized for a few days. In the following months, I suffered a bicycle accident and fractured my arm. Once again, I needed to be hospitalized. These experiences made me dream of the universe of health and I decided that year to become a nurse.

I am a faculty member at the University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing and have been conducting research on patient safety for more than 15 years. Our university is the largest university in Brazil and one of the most prestigious higher education and research institutions in Latin America. Our nursing school is the most prestigious nursing education and research institution in Brazil and in Latin America. It is also a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing Research Development. In my role as a faculty and leader of the research group on patient safety, I work closely with our clinical partners on integrating research, knowledge translation, management, and practice. Currently, I am coordinating a multicenter study on feeding tube related incidents with the involvement of undergraduate and graduate students.

To our knowledge, this is the first large scale study in Brazil and in Latin America documenting the prevalence of feeding tube incidents. We expect that the results will encourage the use of evidence effectively to influence the scientific foundation for clinical practice and the development of evidence-based policies that will prevent, manage, and eliminate complications caused by feeding tube related incidents, and improve the quality and safety of care provided to hospitalized patients.

Although inserting a nasogastric/nasoenteric tube is a relatively innocuous procedure, improper positioning can cause severe and fatal events. Several single-center studies have identified the prevalence of nasogastric/nasoenteric tube-related incidents in general inpatients; however, there are no studies reporting on those incidents across multiple hospital sites and at a national level. 

Enteral tubes are frequently associated with serious and fatal adverse events. Considering that, in Brazil, nasogastric/nasoenteric tubes are inserted by nurses blindly at the bedside, I plan, based on the results, to conduct a study to assess the diagnostic accuracy of clinical methods to distinguish between gastric and pulmonary placement. 

Data from this research was used in my post-doctoral program at the Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research (CHSSR), Australian Institute for Health Care Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. For this post-doctoral program, I was awarded with the 2018 Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian government. It is a prestigious program supporting high performing individuals to undertake studies, research, and professional development abroad and gain international experience. Candidates from around the world applied for the scholarship and I was one of the selected.

Research grants like the one Fernanda received are funded by donors to the Sigma Foundation for Nursing. Donate today!