Health Briefs

3D-printed Fetal Models Boost Maternal Bonding

A Creighton study has found that pregnant women given a 3D-printed model of their gestating child nearly doubled their degree of maternal attachment as compared to expecting mothers receiving only the standard 3D ultrasound image.

John Coté, MD’97, assistant professor of medicine and OB-GYN physician; Amy Badura Brack, PhD, professor of psychology; and Ryan Walters, PhD, a statistician and assistant professor in the School of Medicine, collaborated on the research — which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing.

Their study adds to existing evidence that found pregnant women presented with a 3D ultrasound fetal photograph instead of a standard ultrasound image also experience enhanced maternal bonding.

The study separated 96 pregnant volunteers into two equal groups. All completed the Maternal Antenatal Attachment Scale questionnaire, which asks a series of questions designed to assess maternal attachment to the developing fetus. One group was subsequently provided with a standard 3D ultrasound image, while the other group received the same 3D image plus a 3D-printed model.

Coté says the findings could be used to improve potentially harmful practices during pregnancy, such as smoking and drinking.

Leading the Way in Palliative Care Education

Through coursework, student-led programs, donor support and award-winning faculty, Creighton is blazing a trail in training tomorrow’s health professionals in the field of palliative care.

At its core, palliative medicine is an interdisciplinary approach to treating patients with chronic, sometimes life-threatening medical conditions, says Kate McKillip, MD, BA’09, assistant professor of palliative medicine in Creighton’s School of Medicine and a physician on the palliative care team at CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center–Bergan Mercy.

In IPE 515, Interprofessional Palliative Care, students from various academic disciplines engage in live-action scenarios, working in teams to make treatment decisions for palliative care patients played by actors. The course was developed through the collaborative efforts of Creighton’s College of Nursing, School of Pharmacy and Health Professions and partners at CHI Health.

The College of Nursing is currently assembling a team of expert faculty focused specifically on palliative care, says Dean Catherine Todero, PhD, BSN’72, who also serves as vice provost of Health Sciences Campuses at Creighton. In the School of Medicine, palliative medical education is supported in part by the Cudahy Palliative Care Scholarship, established by alumnus Terence Cudahy, BS’78, MD’82.

In the classroom, McKillip partners with Creighton faculty outside of the health professions to more fully explore the idea of individualized “whole-person care” through the humanities. These initiatives are complemented by student-led efforts such as Cura Musicalis, in which School of Medicine students engage patients at the bedside by playing music.

“I think (at Creighton), we’re in a unique situation to be able to develop some clinical academic partnerships that have the potential to impact a lot of people’s lives in a positive way,” McKillip says.

Innovative Clinical Nursing Model Debuts in Phoenix

The College of Nursing has brought its innovative clinic training model — called the “Dedicated Education Unit” or DEU — to its programs in Phoenix.

The approach, introduced at the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha in 2013, transforms the traditional clinical experience by making students part of a care team under the direct guidance of trained nurses designated as clinical teaching partners. It’s a strategy that frees faculty to teach and allows nurses to pass on their expertise.

“Instead of concentrating on tasks, the faculty has time for one-to-one conferences with the students as we pull them off the unit at least twice a day to go through what they have learned about medications, goals and outcomes,” says Anne Schoening, PhD, project director for DEUs in the College of Nursing.

The DEU experience in Phoenix is provided through Creighton’s partnerships with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Westgate Medical Center and Chandler Regional Medical Center, all within the Dignity Health system, and Valleywise Health Medical Center.

“I could just see the confidence grow in the students from day one to day 10 or 12,” says Ashley Jenson, RN, a clinical teaching partner at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center in Chandler, Arizona. “Watching them progress as individuals as well as nurses was really exciting to see.”

Exploring Advanced Imaging Techniques

Creighton University medical students are exploring new ways of capturing the human body using the latest in 3D imaging technology.

Randy Richardson, MD, regional dean, Phoenix Regional Campus, School of Medicine, sees broad potential for these advanced imaging techniques in medical practice and education.

“It’s a whole new area that, in my opinion, is going to someday be the standard of care,” Richardson says.

Though doctors have long been using MRI and CT scans to make detailed images of the human body’s interior, they are now able to use that data in new ways. Some medical facilities are able to print patient-specific models of body parts on a 3D printer, allowing doctors to examine affected areas in greater detail.

For Creighton students, 3D imaging and modeling presents a new way of learning anatomy.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Richardson says. “If we can get our students familiar with these 3D techniques and tools, they can take it to the next level. They are going to do things in 10 years we haven’t even thought of.”