Partnerships Project: Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga., 1999-2001

Partnerships for Quality Education

Field of Work: Aligning the training of physicians and nurse practitioners with the demands of 21st-century clinical practice.

Problem Synopsis: In the 1990s, managed care became one of the dominant forces in health care. Physicians and nurse practitioners (NP's) were expected to know how to manage patients' health, often within a fixed budget. Although care was increasingly taking place in outpatient settings, physicians continued to receive most of their training in hospitals rather than in ambulatory care centers. They also received little training in preventive care, or in interprofessional collaboration.

Synopsis of the Work: Partnerships for Quality Education (PQE) (April 1999 through January 2009), was initially funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts (during which time it focused on physicians only) and then by RWJF (which expanded it to include NP's). The program sought to improve a core set of skills in physicians and nurse practitioners, including interprofessional collaboration, chronic illness management, systems-based care and practice-based quality.

Georgia Southern University, which focuses on the preparation of nurse practitioners for rural practice, partnered with Georgia Healthcare Partnership, a managed care affiliate of Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Ga., and Magnolia Coastlands Area Health Education Center, headquartered in Statesboro, Ga., which serves rural south Georgia. The university participated in the Partnerships Program component of PQE.

Key Results: The project accomplished the following:

  • Created and integrated new curricula on systems thinking and redesign for quality improvement into two existing core courses and made managed care clinical practice a part of the required curriculum. The project faculty used Web-based technology and materials to teach both on-site and distance learning students and to draw on the experience of their managed care partners.
  • Established a managed care clinical rotation for family nurse practitioner students.
  • Implemented three brown-bag discussions between medical residents and family nurse practitioner students. Discussion topics were health care ethics, evidence-based care and working collaboratively.

As a result of this project, the family nurse practitioner project integrated managed care content and Web-based resources into two core courses and planned to make managed care clinical experiences a required part of the training project.

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