Nursing Notes: Articles

SHS Advisory Board Bridges the Gaps

Nursing StudentsIn today’s rapidly changing world of health care, it’s important for nursing programs to ensure that what they’re teaching students matches what employers will need when the students graduate. But how?

For Lucille Kelley, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Seattle Pacific University, the answer is simple: Rely on an advisory board comprised of nurse executives from some of the top health care providers in the Pacific Northwest region.

The School of Health Sciences Advisory Board draws nurse leaders from such organizations as Virginia Mason Medical Center, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle Children’s Hospital, and Overlake Hospital. The group meets twice a year to provide valuable insight into current program issues and upcoming initiatives.

“My overarching goal in forming the board was to assure an intentional exchange of information between SHS and our practice partners,” says Kelley. “The board keeps us informed about their needs, the gaps between education and practice, and ways we can collaborate.”

In turn, SHS keeps the executives informed about curriculum and teaching issues that will impact employers, including new developments in accreditation and new efforts such as the clinical nurse leader pathway.

“There’s a lot of interdependency,” says board member Barbara Trehearne, executive director of nursing at Group Health Cooperative. “We use the discussions to evaluate how SHS meets the needs of the community. And they provide us with new thinking, which helps us better engage with the community.”

The advisory board also helps the SHS faculty offer the highest quality in nursing education. “We bring the realities of practice into the world of academics,” explains Linda Latta, director of professional practice, development, and research at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We inform their curriculum to make sure their graduates are prepared for the realities of clinical practice.”

There’s no doubt the advisory board’s involvement makes a big difference. But why do such busy executives stay involved?

“I really support SPU’s values-based culture,” says Marcia Johnson, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital. “SHS produces not just quality nurses and superb, long-term employees, but also quality people.”

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