Table of Contents
Advances in Nursing
Volume 2014, Article ID 605835, 11 pages
Research Article

The Power of Synergy: An Academic/Clinical Partnership for Transformational Change

1University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
2Waikato District Health Board, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
3Lakes District Health Board, Rotorua 3023, New Zealand

Received 28 April 2014; Revised 6 August 2014; Accepted 9 August 2014; Published 20 August 2014

Academic Editor: Jenny M. Wilkinson

Copyright © 2014 Ann McKillop et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. A programme of postgraduate study was developed in partnership between a health board and a university in New Zealand, having identified critical thinking and practice change as key determinants of good care delivery. Aim. To explore the impact after 12 months of a postgraduate programme for registered nurses on patient assessment and clinical reasoning, and the status of implementation plans for improved patient care. Design. Outcome evaluation using a survey and focus groups. Setting. On location at a hospital in a small city in New Zealand that provides healthcare services for 102,000 people across rural and urban areas. Participants. Registered nurses who had completed the programme () and seven clinical mentors. Methods. A survey, focus groups, and follow-up data about quality improvement projects were used to explore how the programme was experienced and its impact. Results. The survey revealed perceptions of improved knowledge and skills but a lack of confidence in communicating with medical staff. Of 28 quality improvement projects planned, all but three had been implemented and were still in use. Two themes were generated from focus group data: “new ways of thinking” and “doing things differently.” Conclusions. This academic/clinical partnership positively influenced nurses’ knowledge and skills, encouraged critical thinking and self-efficacy, and resulted in the sustained implementation of nurse-initiated projects intended to improve patient care.