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Building a better workplace for nurses

The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the American health care system, revealing high rates of practitioner frustration and fatigue. Jason Blomquist, a clinical assistant professor and doctoral student in Boise State’s nursing program, hopes to fight these trends by empowering the next generation of nurses.

Jason Blomquist with students in nursing simulation lab

“Nursing is a profession that trains us to assess and support the whole person rather than focusing only on disease,” Blomquist said. “We have an opportunity to design a health care system that leverages the power of nurses to care for people more holistically.”

For his final project, Blomquist is studying the documented rise in workplace violence towards caregivers.

“There may be a number of contributing factors,” he said, “like the lack of psychiatric resources and societal discord post-pandemic, but it is exacerbated by nursing labor shortages in a time of extreme burnout.”

Blomquist is studying ways to support bedside nurses working with difficult patients.

“The hope is to understand best-practices that can be evolved and applied to support nursing team safety and psychological well-being so they are more prepared and confident to safely care for this at-risk patient population,” he said.

The Marilyn Haynes-Brokopp and Charles Brokopp Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarship and the Norco Nursing Scholarship support his academic work.

Blomquist grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and studied at Oberlin College, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Idaho State University before coming to Boise State. Nursing is a second profession for Blomquist, a former outdoor guide. He saw nursing as a sustainable, long-term career, one with myriad opportunities ranging from working directly with patients, to working in leadership and administration, to teaching or supporting public health departments.

He began his career as a bedside nurse in the cardiac ward at St. Luke’s Health System in Boise. Developing a passion for empowering other nurses, he held various charge nurse, supervisor and director roles across the health system. His passion for education led him to Boise State to teach and study.

Simultaneously working as a faculty member and pursuing his doctoral degree is rewarding and challenging, he said. Being a student informs the way he teaches and designs assignments.

“People tell you to try to walk in someone else’s shoes. I actually am walking in both pairs,” he said.

The program takes great pride in the success of its students like Blomquist, said Teresa Serratt, program director. “We know how hard they work to maximize their professional development so they can be effective healthcare leaders in whatever role they may find themselves over the course of their careers.”

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