Jan 08, 2018

Implementing Successful Public Health Nursing Academic-Practice Partnerships

In collaboration with: Linda B. Roberts, MSN, RN

Problem Statement: A small group of Illinois nurses from public health, schools of nursing and the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition identified the need to focus nursing practice on the health of populations, to improve health outcomes and advance the nursing profession.  A modified version of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation nursing enumeration survey was sent to nursing faculty and local health departments in Illinois. We found that while public health nurses with a population focus were needed in practice, schools of nursing were struggling to find clinical sites offering a population focused experience. In 2015, the group unified around a vision to encourage academic-practice partnerships to build a better prepared nursing workforce through student projects promoting positive health outcomes for the populations served by health departments and community agencies; thus, empowering baccalaureate prepared nurses to practice population health in their chosen area of practice.

Approach: The American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Academic-Practice Partnership toolkit was used as guide to support five partnership pilot projects throughout the state during the 2016 fall and 2017 spring terms. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Illinois Nurses Foundation, projects included improving immunization rates, preventing asthma episodes, reducing stress in the workplace and preventing sexually transmitted infections through education to providers and high school students.

Products/Outcome: The individual projects were reported as valuable by the students, faculty and community health departments and other project sites. They reported greater insight and understanding of population focused nursing experiences and enhanced progression of projects. A statewide conference is scheduled for October 20, 2017 and the Illinois Nurses Foundation refunded additional partnership projects during the spring term, 2018.

Implications: Academic-Practice Partnerships prepare our future nurses for population health management regardless of their chosen area of practice, and promote improved health in the communities they serve