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Keywords:

  • Nursing education;
  • nursing practice;
  • collaboration;
  • innovation;
  • partnership

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

Purpose: To describe the benefits and barriers associated with practice-academe partnerships and introduce Sigma Theta Tau International's (STTI's) Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award and the 2009 award recipients.

Design and Methods: In 2008, STTI created the CNO-Dean Advisory Council and charged it with reviewing the state of practice-academe collaborations and developing strategies for optimizing how chief nursing officers (CNOs) and deans work together to advance the profession and discipline of nursing. The Council, in turn, developed the Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award to encourage collaboration across sectors, recognize innovative collaborative efforts, and spotlight best practices. A call for award submissions resulted in 24 applications from around the globe.

Findings: An award winner and seven initiatives receiving honorable mentions were selected. The winning initiatives reflect innovative academe-service partnerships that advance evidence-based practice, nursing education, nursing research, and patient care. The proposals were distinguished by their collaborators’ shared vision and unity of purpose, ability to leverage strengths and resources, and willingness to recognize opportunities and take risks.

Conclusions: By partnering with one another, nurses in academe and in service settings can directly impact nursing education and practice, often effecting changes and achieving outcomes that are more extensive and powerful than could be achieved by working alone.

Clinical Relevance: The award-winning initiatives represent best practices for bridging the practice-academe divide and can serve as guides for nurse leaders in both settings.

Nurse leaders in academe and practice settings have a long history of collaborating with one another for the purposes of enhancing nursing education, care, and practice (Barger, 1995; Bleich, Hewlett, Miller, & Bender, 2004). At the same time, however, a recent survey has suggested there is a noteworthy disconnect between nurse leaders in academe and practice settings. In the survey, 90% of deans—but only 10% of chief nursing officers (CNOs)—expressed confidence in their new graduates’ ability to provide safe and effective care (Advisory Board Company, 2008).

One factor contributing to this disagreement may be the transformation that has occurred in nursing education over the past 50 years as nursing education programs have moved out of hospitals and into colleges and universities. While this change has yielded many benefits, some believe it also contributes to the disconnect between service and academe and has led to a number of unintended effects, including difficulties implementing clinical practice initiatives for students, maintaining course content that is infused with current clinical examples, and accessing clinical populations for research (Keefe, Leuner, & Laken, 2000).

Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) believes that bridging the gap between nursing practice and academe is a necessary prerequisite for assuring a qualified nursing workforce for the future and for positioning nurses to address emerging healthcare needs. With its global and diverse membership, which includes deans and nursing faculty as well as CNOs and practicing clinical nurses, STTI is uniquely positioned to broker conversations among nurses from the academic and service sectors and engage them in efforts to address the practice-academe divide. Toward this end, in 2008 the board of directors created the CNO-Dean Advisory Council and charged it to develop strategies designed to optimize how CNOs and nursing school deans may work together in learning communities and demonstrate their collective commitment to globally advancing the profession and the discipline of nursing. The council examined the current state of practice-academe partnering and then created STTI's Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award, which recognizes and aims to promote innovative and successful collaborations.

The purpose of this article is to review practice-academe collaborations, including potential obstacles and benefits, describe the Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award, and present the 2009 award winners. Our goal is to encourage nurse leaders in academe and practice to embark on their own collaborative initiatives aimed at advancing the profession and discipline of nursing.

Background

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

Historical Perspective

Over the past 50 years, a variety of academic nursing and service partnerships have emerged to bridge the gap between practice and academe (Barger, 1995; Bleich et al., 2004; Cronenwett, 2004; Donaldson & Fralic, 2000; Sabatier, 2002; Walker, 1995). These partnerships have yielded innovative programs, ranging from nursing centers for selected patient populations to nursing institutes designed to meet the educational and learning needs of student nurses and practicing nurses.

In addition, individual faculty and colleges of nursing have engaged in a wide array of practice activities to address the practice-academe divide. These activities tend to fall into one of the following categories: entrepreneurial or linkage model, integration or nursing center model, unification model, collaboration or joint appointment, or private practice model (Saxe et al., 2004). In the entrepreneurial or linkage model, a portion of the nursing faculty member's time is contracted out to another organization to provide services, such as providing staff development in gerontology (Speziale, 2001) or health promotion education for seniors served by a community hospital (Slaninka & Galbraith, 1998). In the integration or nursing center model, nursing faculty operate clinics or practices, such as a primary care practice in Manhattan operated by Columbia Advanced Practice Nurse Associates (Boccuzzi, 1998), and a rural health clinic in Illinois that provides services to residents of a three-county area (Anderko & Uscian, 2001). In the unification model, administrative functions are shared by the clinical agency and academic entity, and faculty members hold joint appointments as educators and clinicians, administrators, or researchers and split their time between the two institutions (Saxe et al.). For example, at the University of Kentucky, one nursing faculty member spends half her time at the university and the other half as the nurse research/evidence-based practice consultant at a magnet-recognized community hospital. In the private practice model, faculty members secure their own practice sites and receive compensation in addition to their salary.

Barriers to Collaboration Described in the Literature

Efforts to forge and implement academe-service partnerships can be fraught with obstacles that prevent the partnership from moving forward or limit its dissemination. Key challenges include developing and maintaining an ongoing process for strategic planning and assuring that the aims of the school of nursing and practice site are aligned and foster equitable exchange (Bleich et al., 2004); reaching agreement on a formula for return of clinical revenues (Speziale, 2001); and developing an infrastructure to support practice, including identifying funding sources, negotiating contracts, and assuring financial sustainability (Barger, 1995; Boettcher, 1996; Dracup, 2004; Speziale; Walker, 1995). Additionally, academic partners are challenged to find ways to value the practice contributions of faculty seeking promotion or tenure (Dracup; Herrin et al., 2006; Krothe, Flynn, Ray, & Goodwin, 2000; Mezey, Mitty, & Burger, 2008; Speziale; Ward, 2001); recognize the importance of clinical research and providing faculty with time to engage in this work (Stark, Walker, & Bohannan, 1991); manage faculty role strain, ambiguity, and workload, including balancing clinical demands with time for teaching and service responsibilities (Barger; Boettcher; Connolly & Wilson, 2008; Harvath, Flaherty-Robb, White, Talerico, & Hayden, 2007; Herrin et al.; Krothe et al.; Speziale; Stark et al., 1991; Ward); manage resistance from the university and other groups or individuals who view the clinical services provided as competitive (Krothe et al.; Oros, Johantgen, Antol, Heller, & Ravella, 2001; Stark, Mackey, & Adams, 1995); and assure sufficient faculty interest and clinical expertise (Barger; Stark et al., 1991).

Benefits of Collaboration

Even with these obstacles, service-academe collaborations can yield significant benefits. As noted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (1993), these include “increased visibility and esteem for nursing's contributions to health care delivery and research” by employers, policy makers, and other groups; “maximization of access to shared financial and human resources and expertise,” benefiting the missions of both organizations; “enhanced opportunity to maintain relevancy in practice that is on the cutting edge…; improved, more relevant, and cost effective education for students and staff…; [and] increased generation of research questions, access to research subjects, and application of research findings in practice” (p. 51). Even more important, perhaps, is the “strength and power” that is gained through mutual goal setting, and the control nursing gains over its “destiny in practice and education” (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, p. 51). It was in recognition of these and other benefits that STTI launched the CNO-Dean Advisory Council.

CNO-Dean Advisory Council

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

The CNO-Dean Advisory Council consisted of 17 nurse leaders from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong, representing nursing education, practice, and policy. The council was co-chaired by the CNO of an academic medical center and the dean of a university-based school of nursing, and met bimonthly for 1 year beginning in 2007. Prior to developing the Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award, council members examined 25 ongoing practice-academe collaborations reflecting activity in a cross-section of U.S. geographic regions, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Pakistan. The review was conducted for the purposes of gaining a better understanding of factors that present obstacles or contribute to a collaboration's success.

Among the success factors identified by the council, the most important applied to the leaders of collaborations. In general, successful collaborations were led by nurses who encouraged creativity and innovation and demonstrated a commitment to moving forward in ways that benefited both parties. Leaders of successful collaborations also demonstrated an ability to see opportunities where others might see only adversity and to act on opportunities even when this meant altering the normal way of doing business. In addition, successful collaborations tended to embrace resource sharing and to use joint appointments to facilitate communication and build trust.

Additional barriers identified by the council included cultural differences that exist between academic and service settings. These are exemplified by the deliberative, sometimes year-long, planning process that academic leaders use when planning and implementing new programs, versus the “turn-on-a-dime” approach that is often required of nurse leaders in practice settings. A related barrier was the different focus and requirements of day-to-day operations in academic versus service settings. In the service setting, operations are driven by the requirements of patient care, and nurse leaders must be ready to introduce new programs and practice changes as needed, often on short notice. In the academic sector, activity is driven by the academic calendar and deans and faculty must assure that courses are ready to go as scheduled and resources to support faculty and students are available when needed. Other barriers included a lack of trust between partners and faculty and staffing shortages. Successful collaborations accounted for these differences and barriers and factored them into the selection and design of the collaborative initiative.

Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

Building on its review of the literature and ongoing collaborations, the CNO-Dean Advisory Council specified the goals and criteria for STTI's Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award. In specifying goals, the council determined that successful submission will demonstrate how the collaboration optimized the way nursing practice and academe worked together to accomplish the honor society's vision of creating a global community of nurses who lead in using knowledge, scholarship, service, and learning to improve the health of the world's people. In addition, collaborations should advance the profession and discipline of nursing within their respective communities resulting in improved patient outcomes. Award criteria may be found in Table 1.

Table 1.  Criteria for Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
▪ Describes a multidisciplinary approach including clinical practice, academe, and research
▪ Cites at least 3 resources used in developing/formulating the collaboration
▪ Describes initial obstacles/challenges to the collaboration and how these were overcome
▪ Describes tipping points that moved the collaboration in a negative or positive direction and how
▪ Explains how resources were allocated. Examples may include but are not limited to shared appointments, support for leadership and development, support for continuing education
▪ Provides evidence of evaluation of meeting partnership goals and proof of sustainability
▪ Describes ways in which evidence-based nursing and research were incorporated in the partnership
▪ Demonstrates measurable positive patient outcomes

A call for submissions was released in March 2009. Twenty-four applications were received via an online application process. Each submission was judged by a four-person review committee consisting of two deans and two CNOs. Each initiative was evaluated against the award criteria. The initiative earning the highest score was identified as the award winner, and the next seven highest-scoring initiatives were named honorable mentions. Organizations associated with the eight winning initiatives are identified in Table 2. Additional details about the winning initiatives’ aims, strategies, and outcomes follow.

Table 2.  Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award: Partnering Organizations
Initiative TitlePartnering Organizations
Celebrating 10 Years of Collaboration in Advancing Evidence-Based Practice•  Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) •  University of Ottawa (UO) School of Nursing •  21 healthcare organizations (designated as Best Practice Spotlight Organizations or BPSOs)
Partners in Addressing Cancer Care Disparities•  University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Nursing and Health Sciences •  Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center •  Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
A Collaborative Model to Introduce Quality and Safety Content into the Undergraduate Nursing Leadership Curriculum•  University of British Columbia School of Nursing •  Provincial Health Services Authority of British Columbia •  Richmond Health Services, British Columbia •  Children's and Women's Health Center of British Columbia
Academe-Service Collaborative Using Simulation•  Bloomington Hospital •  Indiana University School of Nursing •  Indiana University School of Medicine
Catholic Health Initiatives Research Collaboratives•  Catholic Health Initiatives, Inc. •  University of Alabama Huntsville •  Loyola University
Transitioning Hospital Based Nurse Leaders to Practice Doctorates•  Case Western Reserve University, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing •  Greenwich Hospital (Greenwich, CT) •  Mt. Sinai Hospital (New York City, NY) •  Carilion Health Care System (Roanoke, VA) •  Exeter Hospital (Exeter, NH) •  Shore Memorial Hospital (Atlantic City, NJ) •  North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System (Long Island, NY)
Disaster Nursing Task Force•  The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Poly U), School of Nursing •  Partners include:  -  West China Hospital (Sichuan, China)  -  Sichuan University, West China School of Nursing (Sichuan, China)  -  Sichuan Post-disaster Reconstruction Support and Research Centre (Poly U & Sichuan University)  -  WHO Collaborating Centre for Disaster Nursing, University of Hyogo (Japan)  -  University of Glamorgan (UK) - Chinese Consortium for Higher Nursing Education  -  WHO Asia Pacific Emergency & Disaster Nursing Network
Cross Cultural Educational Collaboration for Palliative Care in Romania•  University of Rhode Island College of Nursing •  Simmons College (Boston, MA) •  Hospice of Hope (Romania)

Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

Celebrating 10 Years of Collaboration in Advancing Evidence-Based Practice

In the award-winning initiative, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) partnered with the University of Ottawa (UO) School of Nursing and 21 service organizations designated as Best Practice Spotlight Organizations (BPSOs) to advance evidence-based practice in healthcare organizations throughout Ontario and Quebec, Canada. The service organizations include Hôpital Charles LeMoyne, Hôpital régional de Sudbury Regional Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, Niagara Health System, Royal Victoria Hospital, Saint Elizabeth Health Care University Health Network, VON Canada, West Park Healthcare Centre, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Community Care Access Centre HNHB, Extendicare York, Hamilton Health Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, Niagara Region Public Health Department, The Ottawa Hospital, St. Joseph's Health Care, London, and St. Joseph's Health Care, Hamilton.

Since its inception in 1999 and with funding support from Ontario's Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, the collaboration has developed 35 evidence-based clinical guidelines and 7 Healthy Work Environment guidelines, which are being implemented into practice and incorporated into nursing curricula. This dynamic initiative is ongoing, with 17 new BPSOs joining in 2009, and continues to expand its influence by welcoming new partners from across Canada and around the globe, including organizations in Beijing, China.

A number of innovative strategies have been used to support practicing nurses and nursing faculty in adopting and using the guidelines. These include the formation of a best practice champions network, which involves 3,600 point-of-care nurses who were selected by the BPSOs and trained by RNAO in using the guidelines. An implementation tool-kit and condensed versions of the guidelines that can be used on personal digital assistants were also developed. To help faculty integrate the guidelines into curricula, the collaboration conducted demonstration projects testing ways to link the guidelines to curricula and developed an educator's resource guide.

Research and evaluation of nursing practice, patient, organizational, and system outcomes is an integral part of the collaboration. In 2006, RNAO and the UO School of Nursing partnered to create the Nursing Best Practice Research Unit (NBPRU). Through this unit, the collaboration is evaluating outcomes related to the implementation of specific guidelines, examining knowledge transfer strategies, and synthesizing research findings that can be translated into practice.

In granting the award, STTI noted the substantial impact the collaboration has had on evidence-based practice and outcomes and underscored the collaboration's success in forging strong partnerships and bridging gaps between service and academe.

Honorable Mention Awards

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

Partners in Addressing Cancer Care Disparities

In this initiative the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services combined their academic, research, and clinical resources to create an accelerated BS-to-PhD nursing program. Developed with the support of a U-56 grant from the National Cancer Institute, the program prepares students for careers in teaching, health policy, and research related to cancer and health disparities. A key aim of the program is to recruit students from underrepresented minorities. By using a variety of recruitment strategies, 50% of the first two classes of accelerated students were minorities.

The accelerated program includes content on cancer and health disparities, which is integrated into the curriculum and augmented by clinical and research mentoring and experience. Through the mentorship component, students are matched to university faculty and researchers and scientists who share their research interests. Students also participate in community outreach initiatives designed to help them understand the role of community outreach and education in addressing cancer health disparities and obtain experience in program planning and implementation. Research is another component of the collaboration, with funding provided to teams of investigators for pilot work addressing the problem of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality.

A Collaborative Model to Introduce Quality and Safety Content Into the Undergraduate Nursing Leadership Curriculum

In 2005, quality and safety (Q&S) nursing directors from the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) of British Columbia, Canada, and faculty at the University of British Columbia School of Nursing forged a collaboration. Additional partners include Richmond Health Services and Children's and Women's Health Center of British Columbia. One outcome has been the development of an undergraduate nursing Q&S leadership option that focuses on nursing leadership through a Q&S lens and offers students an opportunity for action-based learning. Typically 20 students, about one third of the leadership class, volunteer for the Q&S option. During the semester, they attend initial classroom lectures on leadership and Q&S concepts and are then paired with PHSA nurse leaders and participate on interdisciplinary teams engaged in practice-based Q&S initiatives. Through their work with the teams, the students have participated in quality improvement processes including root cause analyses; helped develop best practice policies and procedures and educational materials for staff, patients, and families; and assisted with collating and presenting data to organizational leaders.

Student feedback indicates the Q&S option provides a rigorous and intense experience, one that is highly valued and provides a “behind the scenes look” that raises students’ awareness of nursing's role in establishing and maintaining effective interdisciplinary team relationships and ensuring quality, safe practice environments. The option has been expanded to include other healthcare regions within British Columbia, acting as an important foundation for practice-academe collaborations. It has also provided impetus for practice-university joint appointments and the possibility for many more educational innovations for nursing students.

Academe-Service Collaborative Using Simulation

In this initiative, Bloomington Hospital and the School of Nursing and School of Medicine at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, developed a state-of-the-art, high-fidelity simulation laboratory, which they are using to improve practice and build competency among nurses and physicians. With grant support, the partners have developed simulation scenarios to support nurses in developing and practicing skills required for critical care, medical-surgical, behavioral health, obstetrical, pediatric, home health, and hospice nursing. Scenarios have also been developed to enhance nurses’ use of the hospital's Rapid Response Team.

Research assessing the effectiveness of simulation in health professions education is a major focus of the collaboration. Research efforts to date have included studies assessing the effectiveness of simulation in teaching advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) skills, improving interdisciplinary communication during patient care emergencies, and helping nursing students learn about end-of-life care. Simulation has also been taken “on the road” to evaluate the effectiveness of licensed team members in patient arrest situations.

Catholic Health Initiatives Research Collaborative

In this initiative, Catholic Health Initiatives, Inc. (CHI), a multisite, multistate practice system, is collaborating with academic nursing programs at the University of Alabama Huntsville and Loyola University in Chicago to conduct research and create a research “laboratory” where scientific evidence can be developed and translated into clinical practice. In the inaugural year, the research collaborations resulted in two large studies. In one, researchers examined the effects of nurse staffing on selected outcomes of nearly 35,000 patients in 11 units (in four CHI hospitals); in the other, more than 1,400 staff nurses in 29 CHI hospitals participated in a survey aimed at understanding the relationship between nurse managers and staff outcomes.

The collaboration overcame a number of obstacles to achieve its aims. These included obtaining the participation of staff nurses from CHI hospitals across the United States. This obstacle was overcome by using a variety of Web-based strategies, including online surveys and webinars.

Transitioning Hospital-Based Nurse Leaders to Practice Doctorates

Through this initiative, the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University is collaborating with six hospitals to offer a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program on site or in close proximity to the practice locations. The hospitals include Greenwich Hospital, Carilion Health Care System, Exeter Hospital, Shore Memorial Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, and North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System (New York). The DNP program facilitates a return to school by nurse leaders that are working full time and is designed to advance nursing practice and support the development of leadership skills. Doctoral students can choose between an education or clinical leadership sequence. The partnership between each site and the school of nursing is facilitated by on-site coordinators who help students connect with the school and facilitate tracking and advising by faculty.

The participating hospitals benefit from the leadership skills gained by students and from student projects aimed at improving patient outcomes and advancing evidence-based practice. The school of nursing benefits from having the opportunity to integrate content on current clinical issues and challenges in healthcare delivery into its curriculum. Since 2005, 171 new students have enrolled in the DNP program through the hospital partners, and more than 50 students have graduated and assumed leadership responsibilities in the hospitals.

Disaster Nursing Task Force

This initiative was launched in response to the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China, which resulted in the death or displacement of thousands of Chinese citizens. In the initiative, the Hong Kong Polytechnic School of Nursing collaborated with multiple partners from practice, academe, and research to establish a Disaster Nursing Task Force under the World Health Organization. Partners included West China Hospital (Sichuan, China), Sichuan University West China School of Nursing (Sichuan, China), Sichuan Post-disaster Reconstruction Support and Research Centre (Poly U & Sichuan University), WHO Collaborating Centre for Disaster Nursing University of Hyogo (Japan), University of Glamorgan (United Kingdom), Chinese Consortium for Higher Nursing Education, and WHO Asia Pacific Emergency & Disaster Nursing Network. The task force developed and implemented multiple strategies aimed at supporting community-based rehabilitation and health promotion among quake survivors and capacity building among health workers.

Using an action research approach, the task force conducted a health needs assessment at temporary housing sites and provided culturally sensitive and evidence-based health advice as health needs emerged. The task force also developed courses and training on disaster trauma and rehabilitation nursing. The courses were offered to nurses and other health workers through on-site presentations and e-learning technologies and helped build disaster response capacity.

Cross Cultural Educational Collaboration for Palliative Care in Romania

Through this trans-Atlantic partnership, the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing and Simmons College have collaborated with the Hospice of Hope in Romania to provide educational programs in palliative and end-of-life care to nurses and other clinicians in Romania and to foster understanding about end-of-life care among participants. The educational programs are grounded in evidence-based standards of practice and the End of Life Educational Consortium curriculum (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2004). Sessions have been provided on site in Romania and via teleconferencing. Teleconferencing has also been used to bring together interdisciplinary teams of nursing specialists, physicians, pharmacology educators, nutritionists, and interested faculty to discuss and solve challenging patient problems presented by Romanian providers.

The collaboration has had a noticeable impact on the knowledge and practice of all providers and has prompted interest in research in the important area of palliative care. Students have also benefited from the collaboration. Nursing students have traveled to Romania with faculty mentors to participate in the learning experience since the inception of the program. Additionally, the collaboration has allowed students from diverse disciplines to participate in the teleconferences and to share their ideas.

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

In today's fast paced and rapidly changing healthcare environments, it is incumbent on nurse leaders to find new ways to unite nursing's academic and service arenas and to assure that nurses in academe are connected to changes in clinical settings and clinical nurses are involved in emerging issues in nursing education (Donaldson & Fralic, 2000). The practice-academe collaborations recognized through STTI's 2009 Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award provide a powerful illustration of best practices and strategies for closing the practice-academe gap. A number of features distinguish the award-winning initiatives from other collaborative efforts:

  • • 
    Shared vision and unity of purpose. In each initiative, the leaders from academe and practice held a shared vision for bridging the academe-service divide and were committed to acting in a way that benefited both parties. Their unity of purpose inspired others to join them, garnering support from many individuals and constituencies. Such broad participation assured that many ideas were brought to the table and assisted efforts to overcome barriers. For example, in the award-winning initiative, RNAO and UO engaged healthcare organizations throughout Ontario and Quebec in evaluating and implementing evidence-based clinical guidelines. Involving a broad group of institutions in this activity facilitated dissemination and uptake of the guidelines and assured that nurses and patients throughout these provinces benefited from the guidelines’ adoption.
  • • 
    Leveraging strengths and resources. In each case, the partnering organizations recognized and took advantage of what each other had to offer. Using structures that were already in place and tapping the expertise of existing faculty and staff helped nurse leaders manage costs and assure the sustainability of the programs and structures they developed. For example, in the initiative Partners in Addressing Cancer Care Disparities, Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the UMB, and the Phyllis F. Cantor Center for Research in Nursing and Patient Care Services at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute built on an existing PhD in nursing program and leveraged UMB's expertise in research and health policy and DF/HCC's expertise in oncology care and research. The accelerated PhD program that resulted not only bridged the practice-academe divide but also expanded the pipeline of nurse faculty and researchers and positioned nurses to play a leadership role in efforts to address cancer health disparities.
  • • 
    Recognizing opportunities and taking risks. Nurse leaders associated with all of the winning initiatives seized the chance to effect change, often recognizing opportunity where others saw adversity. This is illustrated by two initiatives in particular: in the Disaster Nursing Task Force, nurses from many organizations rallied together to ameliorate the impact of a natural disaster of unprecedented proportions; and in the Cross Cultural Educational Collaborative for Palliative Care in Romania, nurses found ways to overcome significant geographic and cultural barriers to meet a pressing health care need and expand educational opportunities for clinicians in Romania and at home.

In every case, the willingness of participants to take risks, leverage resources, and use innovative approaches rather than the normal, day-to-day way of doing business meant the difference between success and failure. As a result, and as is true of the best partnerships, the collaborations yielded outcomes that are more extensive and more powerful than what might have been accomplished by an organization working alone. Beyond their immediate outcomes, the initiatives also represent a step toward changing the paradigm of how students and educators in academia interface with nurse leaders and clinical nurses in practice settings. Too often, nursing students and faculty are made to feel like visitors rather than patient care partners when working in clinical settings. Similarly, nurses in practice often struggle to find a way to influence academia. Through collaborative initiatives such as those described here, nurses from all levels of academe and practice can work together as partners and become part of the solution for closing the practice-academe gap and addressing pressing healthcare issues.

It is STTI's hope that the creation of the Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award will inspire CNOs and deans everywhere to extend a hand to colleagues in other sectors, forming partnerships that empower them to seize and build on opportunities and effect lasting change. The initiatives profiled here suggest that nurse leaders using such an approach will be successful in helping to close the practice-academe divide and in leading the way toward shaping nursing education and practice for the future.

Additional information about the winning initiatives is available online through STTI's Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library. (To access this information, click on “Practice/Academe Innovative Collaborations” at http://www.nursinglibrary.org/portal/main.aspx). Additional initiatives will be added with each award cycle.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References

The authors thank the members of the CNO-Dean Advisory Council, whose work is described in this manuscript. For a complete list of members, please visit the Sigma Theta Tau International Web site at http://www.nursingsociety.org/Publications/Journals/Pages/JNS_main.aspx. The authors also thank Beth Kantz, MS, RN, and Jane Corrigan Wandel, MS, RN, of Corrigan Kantz Consulting for writing anvd editing support.

Clinical Resources

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References
  • • 
    Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library “Practice/Academe Innovative Collaborations” at http://www.nursinglibrary.org/portal/main.aspx
  • • 
    The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) spotlights a number of strategic partnerships aimed at expanding nursing education programs and student capacity: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/issues/Oct02.htm
  • • 
    Collaboration between AACN and leaders from education and practice has led to the development of a new nursing role, the clinical nurse leader (CNL): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/cnl/Index.htm
  • • 
    A collaboration between the University of Maryland Medical Center and University of Maryland School of Nursing benefits faculty, students, and practicing nurses: http://www.umm.edu/nursing/partnership_son.htm
  • • 
    The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing, a collaborative involving the Department of Nursing at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, links nursing service and education activities, helping to prepare nurses for practice and meet the educational needs of practicing nurses: http://www.ijhn.jhmi.edu

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Background
  4. CNO-Dean Advisory Council
  5. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award
  6. Practice-Academe Innovative Collaboration Award Winner
  7. Honorable Mention Awards
  8. Discussion
  9. Acknowledgements
  10. Clinical Resources
  11. References
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