Ryan Rasmussen, Assistant Teaching Professor, MS, BSN, AND
The trauma unit in a hospital may be chaotic. With so many providers, nurses, and specialists all taking care of one patient, it can be overwhelming. The breakdown in communication between providers and nurses is one of the leading causes of sentinel events and adverse outcomes.
As part of his PhD degree at the University of Arizona (UA), assistant teaching professor Ryan Rasmussen (MS ’11) is studying communication in emergency trauma rooms. His study, which is currently obtaining institutional review board approval from three committees (UA, BYU, and a local Utah hospital), seeks to understand how members of trauma teams communicate while caring for trauma patients.
His initial literature review found that 150,000 deaths and 3,000,000 nonfatal injuries in the United States occur annually as a result of trauma, which is the leading cause of death for individuals under 46 years of age and the number-four cause of death among all age groups. The database search discovered 44 papers, with nine meeting the inclusion criteria. From those papers the following themes associated with communication emerged: leadership styles, crew resource management (CRM), simulation, and debriefings.
Each paper identified communication as an issue in the trauma room. CRM includes elements of the other emergent themes from the state of the science; therefore, CRM will be the focus of future research to increase effective team communication within the trauma room.
Rasmussen’s leadership and contribution to the nursing industry extend beyond his dissertation research.
For a different project, Rasmussen worked with two peers—assistant teaching professors Craig Nuttall (MS ’11) and Scott Summers (MS ’11)—to collaborate with Janie Jensen (BS ’17) and sixth-semester student Ashley Dyer to create a mobile phone app that helps people determine if someone has sustained a concussion. Developing an app that reaches its target audience is a hard task, but with the help of these individuals, the team made it happen.
Rasmussen is the college’s new international studies coordinator of the Clinical Practicum Public and Global Health Nursing course, replacing teaching professor Dr. Sheri P. Palmer (AS ’81, BS ’84). He recently returned from his fifth global health session in Taiwan, where he assisted a group of BYU nursing students in learning how other parts of the world administer health care. (See a story about a similar group on page 18 of the fall 2017 college magazine: nursing.byu.edu/Content/development/fall2017-online.pdf.)
He is also the course coordinator for a graduate course in informatics and healthcare technology. His instruction helps students use current and emerging technologies in the care environment to support lifelong learning for self and others, as well as to optimize patient safety, cost-effectiveness, and health outcomes.
Outside of the university, Rasmussen works for two local hospice organizations as a nurse practitioner. He serves as the research chair for the Utah Emergency Nurses Association, as a committee member for the Nursing Informatics Working Group of the American Medical Informatics Association, and as a member of the Emergency Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Last year Rasmussen was recognized with an Excellence in Research award from the Utah Nurse Practitioners Association.
Nuttall says that Rasmussen received the award because he has great ideas, a talent for thinking things through, and the ability to recognize problems. “He wants to fix problems, and so he does not see research as the end; he sees it as a means to fixing problems. He is researching so that it benefits someone, and that is what makes him a great associate.”
Rasmussen’s relatives are also contributing to the local nursing community. There are three generations of BYU nursing alumni in his family. Rasmussen’s mother-in-law, Nancy Thygerson Trapnell (BS ’65), has worked as a hospice nurse for more than 30 years. His wife, Laurie Trapnell Rasmussen (BS ’90), works at Central Utah Surgical Center in Provo, and their daughter Lauren R. Young is starting her fifth semester in the nursing program.