Diverse Partnerships are Key to Texas Team's Success

Mar 26, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by

By Alexia Green, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor and dean emeritus, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and co-leader of the Texas Action Coalition


Creating and sustaining partnerships is vital to the Texas Team: Advancing Health through Nursing—a state Action Coalition of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action. Although the Texas Team was only approved as an official Action Coalition in September 2011, we have been working diligently to recruit and build partners who can support the campaign through 2020.

The various state Action Coalitions—such as the Texas Team—are composed of multiple entities (mostly other organizations), which in turn are composed of multiple individuals. Engaging and maintaining interest and commitment from these multiple entities is a very real challenge for the Texas Team and other newly formed Action Coalitions, but it is vital to all our success in achieving our Institute of Medicine (IOM) goals in our respective states. As leaders we must strive to engage all these partners and promote a common vision toward achieving the IOM goals.

Key to our success in Texas has been the recruitment of BlueCross BlueShield of Texas as our lead business organization for the statewide team. BlueCross BlueShield partners with the Texas Nurses Association as our lead nursing organization to advance the health of Texans through our Coalition activities. The Texas Hospital Association was an early partner and has also been very supportive of our activities.

Other diverse partners that have joined our Coalition include Bell Helicopter. Yes, that’s right, the folks who make helicopters! (And no, they haven’t provided us with any rides yet!) But they are very committed to advancing the health of our state through nursing. Associates in Process Improvement, a group of improvement scientists (yes, those same scientists who work with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) have also joined us because they too deem nurses integral to the improvement of health care across our nation.

Decision Critical, a health care technology company that is nurse-owned, joined the Coalition early on and was also one of our founding sponsors. We were also successful in recruiting the Texas Association of Business, one of the most powerful advocacy groups in the state (it represents more than 400 Chambers of Commerce).

We have been able to recruit approximately 120 other organizations to our Texas Team—most of which are engaged in health care in some form—including hospitals, health care advocacy groups, Area Health Education Centers, the Texas Board of Nursing, the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, and numerous nursing schools.

To keep our members engaged, we send them the weekly email updates from the Center to Champion Nursing in America about the Initiative on the Future of Nursing. When a member organization joins the Texas Team we link them to our communications via list-serve mechanisms. We also provide member updates from the Texas Team on a quarterly basis, and sometimes more often than that. Most of these organizations have been members less than six months, and we hope to actively engage them in our Texas Team activities.

We have also requested that each organization that joins the Texas Team recruit a new member organization within six months of joining the Coalition. We are anticipating following up with all Coalition member organizations over the next few months to encourage them to recruit additional member organizations as agreed upon in their initial charter agreement with the Texas Team. As you can see, the Texas Team has been enthusiastically engaged in the “mobilization” of interested organizations that are committed to the future of nursing and to advancing the health of Texans through nursing!

Read more about the work of the Texas Team.

Read about the work of the California Action Coalition here and here.

Learn more about the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.