In nursing, academic–service partnerships translate knowledge into practice

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Academic–service partnerships have a long history in the nursing profession. A tradition of collaboration between academic institutions (specifically schools of nursing) and practice settings has served to improve public health by translating scientific knowledge into bedside care.

In 2015, Penn State College of Nursing established such a partnership with the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life, a long-term care organization in North Wales, Pennsylvania. Penn State’s Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence pooled resources with the Abramson Center’s Polisher Research Institute to launch the Program for Person-Centered Living Systems of Care (PPCLSC), an initiative focused on innovation in gerontological research through the study of social and behavioral aspects of aging.

“This partnership is a great illustration of what can happen when scholars and practitioners come together,” said Kimberly Van Haitsma, associate professor of nursing and director of the PPCLSC. “We are bridging the translational divide between research and practice in exciting and innovative ways.”

In a recent collaborative effort, the Hartford Center and Abramson Center presented a symposium for health care professionals to highlight the important relationship between researchers and care providers. “Knowledge Into Action: How Interprofessional Partnerships Improve Person-Centered Outcomes for Older Adults,” held at the Abramson Center in September, was attended by more than 120 local providers and recipients of long-term care.

Penn State faculty presented their findings on topics such as non-drug approaches to mental health, technology use, and preference-based care. In turn, Abramson Center staff talked about the ways they use this knowledge to identify behaviors and symptoms that may require intervention — for example, appropriate communication techniques to prevent distress in people living with dementia.

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive. “This was an innovative approach and the diversity of participants was a huge strength,” one participant said. “I can use all aspects of (the material presented) in my position as an educator in long-term care and services,” said another.

From an educational standpoint, academic–service partnerships (or academic–practice partnerships, as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing refers to them) are an important mechanism for preparing nurses in both practice and research to advance in their careers. On the service side, they help to improve the health of the public by advancing evidence-based nursing practice in the communities in which they are based.

“Our research partnerships, such as the one we share with Penn State, have always been invaluable in enabling us to innovate and lead in the long-term care industry,” said Carol A. Irvine, president and CEO of the Abramson Center. “These innovations, in turn, allow us to enhance the lives of older adults by providing them with the best possible care.”

One comment from a conference participant perhaps best sums up the benefits of the kind of clinical–research partnership established by Penn State and the Abramson Center: “So glad to know that Abramson is engaging in research to provide the best care.”

Contacts: 

Beverly Molnar

Work Phone: 
814-863-0878
Cell Phone: 
814-359-6875

Marketing Communications Specialist, College of Nursing

Last Updated October 18, 2016