VA Nursing Academy: Enhancing Academic Partnerships
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center (RHJ VAMC) and the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing (MUSC CON) live as neighbors on the downtown peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina and share a history of partnership, collaborative projects and nurses who learn from one another. We believe that our long-standing and fruitful relationship exactly positions us as successful applicants for the VA Enhancing Academic Partnerships Program beginning in Fall, 2008. This opportunity will allow us to reach out to nursing students who are currently in the approved applicant pool for the accelerated baccalaureate program. Further, it will involve talented VA clinical nurses in the education and mentorship of the next generation of nurses. Based on current resources, MUSC can only accept 25% of applicants to the College of Nursing baccalaureate program.
As a pioneer in online graduate and doctoral education as well as a doctor of nurse practice (DNP) program to begin in 2009, MUSC will provide accelerated tracks in graduate and doctoral degree work to MUSC nursing students and VA clinical staff, through the Partnership. Monthly VA Nursing Academy Rounds will be offered to VA clinical staff by VA and MUSC Nurses in teams in conjunction with the Department of Education at the central site and across the Low Country using VA distance Live Meeting capacity to promote evidence based practice, research, and advanced degrees for clinical nursing staff.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Each Program Director will supervise the learning activities, student objectives and outcomes, and faculty teaching of their respective faculty members, Ms. Joseph for the VA based faculty and Ms. Duffy for the MUSC faculty. Each Program Director will perform annual faculty evaluation using the MUSC faculty criteria in place for summative and formative evaluation of faculty. Partnership faculty members will attend monthly faculty meetings at MUSC to maintain maximum communication and information exchange and be included on all faculty correspondence. The VA Nursing Academy Partnership (VANAP) group will be composed of the 5 faculty members, 2 Program directors and two VA resource persons, the Associate Nurse Executive for Research and Associate Nurse Executive for Education. This group will meet monthly to review curriculum matters, teaching and clinical assignments, student progress, and planning for developmental programming.
Structural Relations for Evaluation:
VA Partnership members will be integrated throughout the nursing governance structure to insure that VA nurses are included in and have access to all Academy activities. The VANAP Program Director reports directly to the Associate Director for Nursing and Patient Care Services and will be responsible for keeping VA leadership informed on all Academy activities. One member of the VANAP group will be represented on the Nurse Managers Committee to facilitate student placement, staff involvement in learning activities, and potential recruitment to the educational program. Similarly, MUSC faculty will include VANAP members on faculty committees including strategic planning, and will provide progress reports at faculty meetings and other appropriate venues. To develop and evaluate an effective infrastructure, the VA/MUSC Partnership will use the model for academic-service partnerships developed at the University of North Carolina (Smith et al., 2004).
The VA Nursing Academy will adopt the summative and formative evaluations used in the MUSC educational program. Additionally, VA members will have teaching roles added to their proficiency and competency expectations for professional evaluation. Process evaluation of the VA Nursing Academy activities will be maintained by Program Directors as student and faculty assignment reports, course attendance and participation, faculty attendance and participation in the life of the University and the VA.
MUSC-VANAP outcomes include NCLEX first time pass rates, annual review of graduation rates, job placement rates, and student, alumni and employer satisfaction data in comparison with years past and over the lifetime of the program. Numbers of graduates hired by the RHJ VAMC will also be monitored. We propose using the Nursing Practice/ Education Partnership Assessment Guide (Cronenwett & Tonges, 2002) to assess faculty experience in the VA and at MUSC for the Partnership team and overall MUSC faculty.
The first module will be a day-long retreat to establish expectations for the program and review baseline competencies involved in Course Modules/Classes: how to use syllabi, divide content, coordinate stated purposes, write and achieve learning objectives, coordinate learning activities; develop and use resources, and measure learner outcomes, within a realistic the time frame. Adult-learning principles will be reviewed along with pedagogical approaches to content mastery, critical thinking skills, and core learning skills. The first three modules will include how to: navigate the WebCT online environment and teach live and online classes; measure effective learning; assess clinical and academic student progress by reference to stated learning objectives; use measurement strategies; provide feedback to students to prompt learning; and how to involve learners in interactive problem-solving. VANAP faculty will have the opportunity to have teaching skills peer reviewed while presenting monthly VA Nursing Academy Rounds for VA staff. VANAP faculty will hold a session on orientation to the VA system for MUSC faculty and join MUSC undergraduate Track faculty in presenting a VA Nurse Academy Rounds at the VA and MUSC on principles of clinical precepting.