Highlighting real world examples of Social Mission Metrics concepts in practice.
Related social mission measurement(s): Community Collaborations, Faculty Activism
(The following is an excerpt from Driving toward a culture shift: Case studies of social mission in nursing education)
Rush College of Nursing (CON) has an innovative community engagement model through the Office of Faculty Practice (OFP), whose mission is to improve the quality of life in neighboring communities by providing evidence-based nursing care to diverse populations in partnership with organizations in Chicago.
The OFP currently has over 30 partnerships in the local community with primarily non-profit social service organizations that provide services to populations historically underserved by the healthcare system. Approximately 75,000 h of direct patient care are provided annually through the OFP, and 25,000 annual hours of prelicensure and DNP student clinical experiences are completed. There are currently over 50 faculty RN and APRNs representing over 30 total full-time equivalents (FTEs) in the OFP. The compensation model is salaried, with sites paying a monthly fee in exchange for a certain number of hours of nursing services. Faculty clinicians are allotted dedicated FTE of salary for clinical practice based upon negotiated faculty practice partner contracts, ensuring the program’s financial sustainability. Currently the practice operates a $3.6 million budget, and is approximately 10–12% of the total Rush CON budget. In addition, the fact that students practice in these community settings means that the program not only benefits the community, but is also a key part of their clinical education experience.
Leadership at Rush CON believes that the OFP has effectively improved health equity and reduced health disparities in their community. They point to the merging of an innovative, nurse-led care delivery model with new community-based practice opportunities for students, as key to making the program an institutional success. In considering the replicability of this model at other schools of nursing, the assistant dean (AD) for the OFP suggested one key is providing clear benchmarks for program profitability over time. For example, at Rush CON, the program received three years of internal funding prior to becoming self-sustaining, and ultimately revenue-generating for the school. Regardless of the level of initial investment, the AD stressed that the program must have full-time personnel. If internal funding is limited, the AD suggested seeking funding from either grants or community partners. The AD of the OFP also believes that clinical practice should be explicitly included as criteria for promotion and tenure criteria to acknowledge the professional contribution for community partnership-based practice. Additionally, the AD emphasized the importance of gaining faculty buy-in for participation in the faculty practice program, an alternative to part-time work in hospitals, which can be more lucrative. Finally, the AD emphasized that working on a person-to-person level was key to gaining momentum. The AD of the OFP began by reaching out to individual community partners and presenting the idea to faculty to champion the program. She also worked with the central university legal department to craft contracts for community collaborations. She stressed the importance of these relationships to the success of the OFP.