Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Development of an Academic Consortium for Nurse-Managed Primary Care

Academic journal article Nursing and Health Care Perspectives

Development of an Academic Consortium for Nurse-Managed Primary Care

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT This article describes the development of an academic consortium comprised of four universities and their schools and colleges of nursing. The initial efforts at collaboration arose from the need to obtain funding and address policy issues related to advanced practice issues at the state level. The developmental stages of the Michigan Academic Consortium are described within a framework developed by Bailey and Koney (1).

IN TODAY'S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, BUSINESS AND MARKET FORCES ENCOURAGE, EVEN DEMAND, THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARTNERSHIPS. Because consortia offer opportunities beyond those of any one institution -- the sharing of resources, the synergy of creativity, and the power of numbers -- academia is often held to some of these same demands, especially by grantors. > This article describes the opportunities and challenges presented by the development of an academic consortium whose purpose is to address advanced practice issues in nursing and academic nurse-managed centers. The consortia members are four universities and their schools and colleges of nursing in the state of Michigan: The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids), Michigan State University (East Lansing), and Wayne State University (Detroit). A fifth partner, the Michigan Public Health Institute, plays a fiduciary role and coordinates the evaluation process. > Consortia among hospitals and managed care organizations are not a new concept. However, while these relationships are proliferating in record numbers (2), many are partnerships in name only, with little shared mission. The concept of partnership was central to the development of the Michigan Academic Consortium. While not a new concept, partnerships, as described in this article, have rarely been attempted among academic units across universities.

Stages and Themes of Consortium Development Bailey and Koney (1) speak of four developmental stages for consortia -- assembling, ordering, performing, and ending. They also identify eight themes that characterize consortia and apply, in varying degrees, to all four stages of development. These themes are as follows:

* Leadership -- the style of the leader and the formal and the informal leadership of the consortium.

* Membership -- who the members are and their affiliations, as well as what is required versus what is gained by being a member.

* Environmental linkages -- the community and the consortium's involvement in it.

* Purpose -- the degree to which the mission has been imposed or selected by the members, and the degree to which members support the goals of the consortium.

* Strategy -- the plan and activities of the consortium as well as the agreement and commitment of leaders and members.

* Structure -- aspects of the consortium's functioning, including size, geographic scope and dispersion of members, duration of the consortium, where and how decisions are made, complexity, and formality of rules and policies.

* Systems -- finances, information flow, human resources, and evaluation.

* Tasks -- the issues to be addressed, the importance of the work, the agreement of the stakeholders on the work to be done, and the level of control within the consortium of the resources required to complete the task.

Naming these stages and themes is not intended to suggest a linear progression as a consortium develops. Events may cause the consortium to retreat to an earlier stage, and themes will require more attention in some stages than in others. Some themes will never be completely settled.

Development of the Michigan Academic Consortium In the two years of its existence, the Michigan Academic Consortium has passed through the assembling and ordering stages to the beginning of the performing stage, a process that clearly illustrates the framework outlined by Bailey and Koney (1). Not surprisingly, the development of the consortium had its roots in the need to access funding. …

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