College and OSU Health System receive national award for exemplary partnership

Columbus, OH (October 28, 2013) – The Ohio State University College of Nursing and The Ohio State University Health System (OSUHS) were recognized with the inaugural 2013 Exemplary Academic-Practice Partnership Award during the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Fall Semiannual Meeting in Washington, DC.

The annual competitive award from AACN and the American Organization of Nursing Executives (AONE) recognizes institutions involved in highly productive and model academic-practice partnerships.

“We have built a thriving academic-practice partnership based on our shared vision of the future of nursing and innovative solutions needed to improve healthcare quality and outcomes ” Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FNAP, FAAN, dean of Ohio State College of Nursing and university chief wellness officer stated. “We are catapulting the nursing profession and health care forward by challenging the status quo, stimulating innovation in education and sustainable evidence-based practice and improving outcomes for the nursing profession, professional nursing and inter-professional students, patients and the community.”

The combined organizational strengths of the College of Nursing and the Health System have been integrated to build and sustain a successful partnership, which has already resulted in multiple positive outcomes.

Shortly after Melnyk’s arrival in 2011, she appointed Mary Nash, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACHE,chief nurse executive of the Health System, as the first assistant dean of clinical affairs in the College of Nursing.  The two leaders immediately pulled teams together from the Health System and the College to engage in a lively strategic planning process to identify a shared vision, goals and activities that would be a win-win for both organizations, as well as for health care and innovative academic programming.

“Oftentimes organizations don’t take advantage of the resources available to them. Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and College of Nursing have demonstrated synergy from the day Bern joined the University,” explained Mary Nash. “Our partnership is rooted in a genuine desire to strengthen both the college and the medical center. Building on the foundation constructed by the Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing Report, we felt an obligation to Ohio State to advance the practice of nursing not only for one another but for an entire nation. Earning this award is quite remarkable and validates the work we’ve accomplished so far.”

As a result of the strengthened academic-practice partnership, several positive outcomes have already been achieved, including: the appointment of academic-practice partners who actively engage in evidence-based practice (EBP) and research projects to enhance patient outcomes; the creation of a new executive track in the College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with shared leadership and faculty; a 101.5 percent increase in the number of nurses from the Wexner Medical Center enrolled in academic programs at the CON; the creation of an innovative patient unit in the Health System; and a new NP-led health center that is integrating physical and mental health care and serving as a site for inter-professional education and practice.

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing Committee, an academic-practice partnership between a nursing education program and care setting is a mechanism for advancing nursing practice to improve the health of the public. Key principles guiding such relationships include:

  • The academic-practice partnership demonstrates an innovative and sustained relationship that extends beyond clinical placements.
  • The partnership demonstrates a commitment to the Guiding Principles for Academic-Practice Partnerships developed by AACN and AONE.
  • The academic-practice partnership demonstrates positive and measurable outcomes.

Through implementing academic-practice partnerships, both academic institutions and practice settings formally address the recommendations of the Future of Nursing Committee to create systems for nurses to achieve educational and career advancement, prepare nurses of the future to practice and lead, provide mechanisms for lifelong learning and provide a structure for nurse residency programs. 

In addition to Melnyk and Nash, Esther Chipps, PhD, RN, clinical assistant professor and nurse scientist for OSUHS; Jacalyn Buck, PhD, RN, NE-BC, administrator for Health System Nursing Quality, Research, Education & EBP at OSUHS and clinical assistant professor at the College of Nursing; Lynn Gallagher-Ford, PhD, RN, director of the Center for Transdisciplinary Evidence-based Practice; Dave Hrabe, PhD, RN, associate professor of clinical nursing and executive director of academic innovations and partnerships; and Usha Menon, PhD, RN, FAAN, vice dean and professor at the College of Nursing, also contributed to the award submission.