Academic-service partnerships: Seven dimensions of successful collaboration

Lucille Travis, Ann Hart, Sonya R. Hardin, Kathleen Hardwell


Background: Partnerships between an academic institution and a magnet designated facility can enhance the expansion of nursing programs by increasing student enrollment and benefit service organizations through supporting structural empowerment, one of the four model components of Magnet. This article describes an academic-service partnership and the application of 7 dimensions of organizational coordination. Seven dimensions, goals, focus, actors, formalization, resources, focus of power and focus of control, were utilized in the design of the academic-service partnership between University of North Carolina-Charlotte School of Nursing and CaroMont Health System. The academic/service partnerships goals that evolved in the planning of this Academic/Service Partnership were to increase School of Nursing (SON) enrollment to meet workforce needs, attain national standards for NCLEX results, increase preceptorship opportunities for nursing staff by providing preceptor education, utilize university resources to facilitate research in service organization and increase applicant pool for employment of baccalaureate (BSN) registered nurses.

Methods: Descriptive longitudinal analysis of data was aggregated over an eight year period. Variables analyzed included student enrollment and National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) scores of the academic partner as well as recruitment, retention and preceptor work shop participation at the service partner. The satisfaction of preceptors and students in the partnership were obtained. Research initiatives as a result of the partnership were facilitated by a nurse researcher.

Results: The NCLEX-RN average pass rate for all the students who have completed the CaroMont University Student Program (CUSP) has been 97.1%, while University of North Carolina-Charlotte nursing students had an overall average of 86.25% during the same time period.  Over 30 Registered Nurses (RN) from the hospital and affiliates have participated in preceptor workshops. The data show that outcome of the CaroMont University Student Partner (CUSP) program has increased the number of BSN new graduate nurses hired each year.  Additionally, there has been an increase in the clinical research at the health care organization and the University due to the increased collaboration.

Conclusions: The goals should be well delineated, with ownership by both partners. The focus of the partnership should be attended to by each partner, with clear expectations for respective responsibilities.  Each of the partners should have specific liaisons (actors) to ensure that decisions are expedited.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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