CCN’s Dr. Lippe Recognized as Sojourns Scholar

Assistant ProfessorCapstone College of Nursing assistant professor, Dr. Megan Lippe, has been accepted into the sixth cohort of Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourns® Scholar Leadership Program. The Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program’s purpose is to identify, cultivate and advance the next generation of palliative care leaders. Each Scholar receives funding over a two-year period to conduct a project that will essentially enhance the field of palliative care. Those Scholars also will be mentored in the design and implementation of a development plan that supports their growth as palliative care leaders.

Dr. Lippe is one of 10 selected to help advance the field of palliative care, and she is elated to see her project come to life over the next two years. “I am so honored and humbled to have been selected to be a Sojourn Scholar,” said Dr. Lippe. “I know several past and current scholars, and these amazing individuals have contributed substantially to the advancement of the field of palliative care. As one of the few nurses selected, I am appreciative to Cambia for awarding me this opportunity and I am also excited for the road ahead. My work as a Sojourn Scholar will allow me to make a meaningful impact on the provision of palliative care in Alabama.”

Dr. Lippe’s research focuses on palliative and end-of-life care education. Her passion for palliative care is shown with her project funded by Cambia Health Foundation’s Sojourn Scholar Leadership Program.

In Dr. Lippe’s project, she will mentor two groups of advanced practice registered nurses (APRN): a core group and survey group. Both groups will receive palliative care education through the ELNEC-Graduate curriculum. The project will begin with focus groups within the core group where APRNS will facilitate the identification of factors influencing palliative care provision in rural Alabama. Participants in these focus groups will explore factors influencing provision of palliative care. APRNs will consider difficulties and successes in addressing patients’ needs and improving quality of life. Using focus group results, Dr. Lippe will create an online survey that asks survey group APRNs to rank factors by priority impact on practice.

After the focus groups, Dr. Lippe will hold monthly team meetings with core group APRNs to discuss key issues in palliative care within Alabama, such as current primary palliative care practice and future directions for palliative care within the state. APRNs practicing in rural care settings will have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the provision of palliative care to patients with serious illnesses through a presentation at the November 2021 State Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life meeting. They will work as a team to determine the presentation content, delivery mechanism, and distribute portions to all APRNs who will be able to attend the council meeting.

Dr. Lippe is committed to becoming a future palliative care leader by mobilizing APRNs in rural primary care practice settings to serve as leaders and advocates for primary palliative care within their communities and Alabama.

“Alabama ranks as the one of the worst performing states in the provision of palliative care, consistently receiving a D grading on Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) state report cards,” said Dr. Lippe. “The state is mostly rural, and few specialized palliative care clinics or providers are accessible for Alabama residents throughout the state, except near Birmingham. Many patients with serious illness in the state receive their care from APRNs in primary care settings. However, the poor statistics in the state suggest that these APRNs are a currently untapped resource for enhancing the provision of primary palliative care.”

Palliative care education has been and will continue to be Dr. Lippe’s passion. Through this project, she hopes to become a change agent in the field of palliative care by advocating for the need for students and nurses to be educated and competent in providing palliative care to all patients and their families. “I hope this project is just the first step in a long road of advocating for and creating change within the field of palliative care.”