Assessing the Impact of Academic-Practice Partnerships on Nursing Staff

Published in: BMC Nursing, v. 14, no. 28, May 2015, p. 1-9

Posted on RAND.org on July 01, 2015

by Marjorie L. Pearson, Tamar Wyte-Lake, Candice C. Bowman, Jack Needleman, Aram Dobalian

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BACKGROUND: The 'spillover effect' of academic-practice partnerships on hospital nursing staff has received limited attention. In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) created the VA Nursing Academy (VANA) to fund fifteen partnerships between schools of nursing and local VA healthcare facilities. In this paper, we examine the experiences of the VA staff nurses who worked on the units used for VANA clinical training. METHODS: We used survey methods to collect information from staff nurses at all active VANA sites on their characteristics, exposure to the program's clinical training activities, satisfaction with program components, and perspectives of the impact on their work and their own plans for education (N = 314). Our analyses utilized descriptive statistics and bivariate and multivariate regression. RESULTS: Results show that staff nurses working on VANA units had moderately high levels of exposure to the program's clinical education activities, and most reported positive experiences with those activities. The vast majority (80 %) did not perceive the presence of students as making their work more difficult. Among those who were enrolled or considering enrolling in a higher education program, over a quarter (28 %) said that their VA's participation in VANA had an influence on this decision. The majority of staff nurses were generally satisfied with their experience with the students. Their satisfaction with the program was related to the level or dose of their exposure to it. Those who were more involved were more satisfied. Greater interaction with the students, more information on the program, and a preceptor role were all independently associated with greater program satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that academic-practice partnerships may have positive spillover effects on staff nurses who work on clinical education units. Further, partnerships may be able to foster positive experiences for their unit nurses by focusing on informing and engaging them in clinical training activities. In particular, our results suggest that academic-practice partnerships should keep unit nurses well informed about program content and learning objectives, encourage frequent interaction with students, involve them in partnership-related unit-based activities, and urge them to become preceptors for the students.

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