College of Nursing Alumna Dr. Sarah Rhoads Receives Academy Edge Runner Designation from The American Academy of Nursing

Dr. Sarah Rhoads has received the Academy Edge Runner designation from the American Academy of Nursing. (Photo provided by: Dr. Sarah Rhoads)

University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing alumna Sarah Rhoads, PhD, DNP, WHNP-BC, (’06), has been named as an Academy Edge Runner by the American Academy of Nursing. The designation recognizes health care professionals who “think outside the box” to address health care challenges. It also showcases nurse-designed care models that impact cost, improve quality and enhance consumer satisfaction.

Dr. Rhoads redesigned the Angel Eye™ System, which allows parents to communicate with hospitalized neonates through web audio and video. The contact is designed to enable parents to virtually have a presence with the hospitalized newborn when they are not able to be there in person.

Dr. Rhoads is an associate professor and education director at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Center for Distance Health in Little Rock. “I am honored to be a part of this group,” she said. “Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to work with visionaries, who use innovative approaches to improve health care, and it is wonderful for our work to be recognized by this organization.”

The Angel Eye™ System allows for a password-protected, HIPAA-compliant, and continual one-way video feed from the hospitalized neonate’s isolette to the user, as well as a one-way audio feed from the user transmitted to the neonate through an audio-controlled system that safely controls decibel levels. Angel Eye™ also implements a first of its kind two-way chat feature, through which parents and newborn intensive care unit nurses can communicate.

“As a nurse and mother, I relate to the struggle of mothers who have a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit,” said Dr. Rhoads. “Sometimes they have to make the difficult decision of staying with their new little one or taking care of their other children at home. Technology, when implemented appropriately, can be a very effective way to help ease the stress of the separation.”

The web-cameras allow parents, family and friends to view a live video feed of the baby and connect virtually with their little one. “Parents and families want to be by their baby’s bedside, but sometimes that is not feasible,” Dr. Rhoads said.

“With all of the changes in health care today, technology will be implemented more and more to improve access to care,” she said. “I would love for the technology to be implemented and utilized in a way that is patient and family centered.”