Innovative Leadership in Nursing Education for Maryland Healthcare Systems: Supporting Professional Advancement in Nursing
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The US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), recently reported that Maryland is one of 16 U.S. states projected to experience a serious shortfall of registered nurses (RNs) by 2025 (HRSA, 2014). This problem is not unique to the US as globally, the nursing shortage is limiting access to health care services and impacting health outcomes across many countries. Innovative education and workplace partnership programs are needed to retain new nursing graduates in times of shortage and funnel them into open ‘high-need’ positions at area health care systems while simultaneously providing support and encouragement for the nurse to return to graduate advanced nursing studies. An opportunity exists to establish strong coordinated and collaborative academic-workplace partnerships to improve the way 1) advise and assist our pre-licensure nursing students with identifying and obtaining appropriate job placements, 2) onboard and support the transition of the new nurse into the clinical setting, 3) use technology and social media to establish an innovative communication and information sharing system to support their first three years in practice, 4) meet the nurses’ need for professional growth and career development, and 5) facilitate the new nurses’ enrollment into graduate nursing programs of study. The purpose of this research was to design and evaluate an innovative workforce development program that would be generalizable and reproducible in other countries and world regions.
In 2015, the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHSON), in partnership with five area hospitals and health care systems received grant funding from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop, implement and evaluate an innovative phased program of research called
The first two years of this innovative academic workplace partnership program is now complete. Thirty students applied and completed their senior practicum experience at a partner health care system. Twenty out of the 24 students were offered full-time nursing positions and all students accepted. Students remain gainfully employed, have transitioned successfully into the workplace and are applying to graduate advanced nursing programs of study.
Conclusions: The data suggest that 1) students are very receptive to this new opportunity early in their career, 2) academic-workplace partnerships improve communications between organizations and nurses who work in them, 3) an Innovative Smart phone based text-messaging system to disseminate a series of timed messages of support and information can enhance and sustain the nurses’ engagement in the academic-practice partnership.