Improving Health Outcomes Through a Unique Academic-Practice Partnership

The UW-Madison School of Nursing (SON) and University Hospital sit in close proximity to each other. Many SON graduates often choose the hospital/ UW Health for their nurse residency and nursing career. Leaders from both organizations meet to discuss the spectrum of nursing with the goal of continuously improving patient care and professional nursing practice and education. That's why it only made sense to solidify the relationship even more.


On June 16, 2016, the first Academic-Practice Partnership Agreement between UW Health and the SON was signed, to be in effect from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017.


The first Academic-Practice Partnership Agreement between UW Health and the School of Nursing is an effective strategy for achieving goals through a formal partnership agreement.The historic agreement aims to improve health outcomes for individuals, families and communities by improving nursing education, practice, leadership and facilitating research.


The collaboration is viewed as an effective strategy for achieving these goals through a formal partnership agreement that provides multiple opportunities for faculty and staff from UW Health and the SON to utilize the clinical and academic talents of each organization, which makes clear the shared goals, priorities, activities, responsibilities, resources and measures of success.


"This partnership serves to strengthen the relationship between UW Health and the School of Nursing and aligns our priorities of preparing the next generation of nurses," says Beth Houlahan, DNP, RN, CENP, UW Health Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive. "The formal agreement is a compact between Dean Scott and I, to assure excellence in academic preparation and a patientcentered practice environment for students to apply their new knowledge. An agreement such as this one is vital to the advancement of education, research and clinical practice for the future of professional nursing."


In addition to the mutually agreed upon priorities of leadership development, nursing education, professional development, practice improvement and research, the agreement includes the following goals:

  1. Increase the number of successful collaborative scholarly projects.
  2. Enhance student nurse and preceptor experiences at UW Health sites.
  3. Increase faculty and staff collaboration on evidencebased practice improvement.
  4. Increase faculty and staff collaboration on research.
  5. Establish shared clinical and academic appointments between UW Health and SON.

"The 2010 Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seminal report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," describes the important role of nurses in transforming health care delivery," states Linda Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Dean and Professor, UW-Madison School of Nursing. "Strong partnerships between academic nursing and academic health systems are vital to this transformation because it creates ways in which current and future nurse leaders can exchange insights that strengthen the delivery of care and improve health outcomes. The collaboration between the School of Nursing and UW Health can be used as an exemplar for other institutions that are in the process of navigating an academic-practice partnership in increasingly complex and demanding environments."