Hospital and college nurses to collaborate

A partnership that helps patients and students

College of Nursing, UF Health Shands Hospital’s division of nursing to join forces

By Tracy Brown Wright

In keeping with national recommendations to improve nursing practice and help nurses become well-positioned to lead change and advance health, the College of Nursing and the UF Health system’s division of nursing have formalized a plan to collaborate more closely in education, research and patient care.

As part of this partnership, both Anna McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing, and Irene Alexaitis, D.N.P., R.N., N.E.A.-B.C., chief nursing officer and vice president for nursing and patient care services at UF Health Shands Hospital, will now hold positions and active roles within the health system and college, respectively. In addition to serving as dean, McDaniel will serve as the UF Health assistant vice president for academic-practice partnerships, and Alexaitis will serve as the College of Nursing associate dean for academic-practice partnerships. In addition, nursing positions at UF Health are being created that combine responsibilities for teaching in the College of Nursing and active practice at UF Health Shands Hospital and other UF Health faculty office sites.

The changing landscape of the health care system has prompted organizations such as the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to recommend the establishment of collaborative academic-practice partnerships between colleges of nursing and hospitals nationwide that include mutual goals to enhance education and practice.

Joint appointments in the college and UF Health facilities will allow the college to better meet the educational needs of students in the college’s academic programs, assist with UF Health nurse recruitment and retention, and strengthen the link between clinical practice and education. In addition, plans include exploring ways to provide advanced educational opportunities for nurses in UF Health facilities and aligning both organizations’ strategic goals and activities. — Tracy Brown Wright