Academics, Alumni, Campus wide, College of Education, Doctor of Education

EdD grad receives prestigious awards

By Jan Joslin | February 22, 2022
Dr. Tammy Thompson accepts her diploma from President Dr. Dondi Costin. Photo by Ty Cornett

Recent Doctor of Education graduate Tammy Thompson is one of three 2021 Institute Patient Experience Scholars for the Beryl Institute, and the only American to receive the award. According to their website, the Beryl Institute is a global community of healthcare professionals committed to transforming the human experience in healthcare.

Thompson also started a three-year fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2020. “The Culture of Health Leaders fellowship provides training and support for my strategic initiative to improve the culture of health in my community,” said Thompson. “I will focus my work over the next two years on a patient education/health literacy program in North Carolina.” To understand her impressive accomplishments, consider that Thompson also holds a full-time position with Vidant Health in North Carolina. 

When Thompson joined the doctoral program, she was living in Charleston and working at the Medical University of South Carolina. “I transitioned to my current role in the fall of 2020, and I was so far along in the program, there was no turning back,” she said.

“The Christian support and encouragement I received from the program’s leadership, particularly Assistant Dean Dr. Robert Doan, confirmed for me that I could continue and successfully complete this program by God’s grace,” said Thompson. “The leadership and research coursework aligned very well with my professional growth, providing the tools I needed to start a new role in a different state, in the midst of a pandemic, and successfully lead my team.”  

An architect and an educator, Thompson joined Vidant Health as corporate director of experience design. “With a strong foundation in statistics from CSU, I earned my certified patient experience professional (CPXP) credential from the Beryl Institute while completing my doctoral studies,” she said. 

Since completing her doctorate, Thompson is advancing her responsibilities in a new role as Administrator of Patient Education and Design while her team assumes responsibility for patient education for the eight-hospital health system. She said, “As a health care designer and leader, I am using my doctoral education and research training to foster a culture of creativity and innovation to empower nurses and other health care professionals in health care delivery. This enables me to create and sustain supportive patient experiences. ”

Thompson chose to concentrate her award-winning doctoral dissertation study on nurses because they spend more time with patients than other healthcare workers. “My study was focused on uncovering the innovation potential in nurses when they receive design training to solve their own problems in patient care delivery,” said Thompson. The study was inspired by Daniel Pink’s writings on the value of balancing right- and left-brain thinking – the textbook for Dr. Robin Franklin’s Creativity & Innovation course. With what she calls the dream team of a dissertation committee (including Dr. Doan, Dr. Franklin, and Dr. William Ross (chair)), Thompson’s study explored the challenges nurses face and how they can find solutions to their problems. She said, “Nurses need tools that will empower them as they solve problems for patients and families, and for themselves.”

Thompson is also president and founder of the nonprofit Institute for Patient-Centered Design, Inc., and is a member of the Consensus Committee on Newborn ICU Design. While she has published multiple peer reviewed articles in her career, she credits CSU’s Doctor of Education program for teaching her how to conduct research. According to Thompson, her dissertation has received national attention and paved the way for the introduction of new knowledge in health care design and innovation. “I know this was God’s will, giving me the opportunity to disseminate the findings of my study as a Beryl Patient Experience Scholar during a time that it would be most useful to help nurses and patients,” Thompson said. 


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