By Danuta Wojnar PhD RN MED IBCLC, Associate Professor & Chair of Maternal Child and Family Nursing at the Seattle University College of Nursing,
2012 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow
Schools of nursing around the country are grappling with the concept of faculty practice and how to incorporate clinical practice into the already-busy academic environment of teaching, scholarship and service. Many argue that “practice” for faculty encompasses teaching, research, and the dissemination of findings that contributes to the growth of nursing knowledge.
While this may be true for the “practice” of PhD-prepared faculty, the idea gets more nebulous when one starts thinking of the ARNP-prepared academics who are full-time faculty teaching in the Masters ARNP and DNP programs. These faculties must remain clinically active in order to maintain their ARNP licenses and to effectively prepare new generations of ARNP nurses to meet the current health care needs of our nation.
In the schools of nursing affiliated with the Health Sciences Centers, the challenge of faculty clinical practice appears somewhat less difficult as malpractice insurance for the faculty is offered through the clinical affiliations. These arrangements allowed many Schools of Nursing around the country to open non-for-profit faculty-managed clinics that offer health care services to the poor and underserved and help with the ARNP licensure requirements. However, for the schools of nursing in private universities without such affiliations, the issue of faculty clinical practice continues to be a great challenge.
In 2012, I became RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow. My key leadership challenge is to overcome this issue for ARNP faculty teaching in the universities not affiliated with Health Sciences Centers. My goal is to establish a partnership with the local primary care delivery agencies to design an innovative model of care in which the faculty and students are insured through the partnering agencies. The purpose of the partnership is to offer non for profit high quality primary care to the homeless, underinsured, and uninsured in our community, and to offer firsthand experience of working with the underserved and vulnerable in an interdisciplinary setting to the ARNP students. At the same time, it is my hope to resolve the issue of malpractice insurance once and for all. The project will evaluate the outcomes to the patients, partnering agencies, and faculty and students. I will disseminate the outcomes both in terms of challenges and successes, with the ultimate goal to replicate the model by other schools of nursing around the country that face similar challenges.