UMMC nursing leaders collaborate for excellence in care, nursing education
Published on Monday, November 7, 2022
By: Annie Oeth, firstname.lastname@example.org
A partnership between Dr. Kristina “Kris” Cherry, chief nursing executive at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Dr. Julie Sanford, dean of the School of Nursing, is focused on improving nursing care and nursing education at UMMC.
Associate dean of clinical affairs in the School of Nursing is added to Cherry’s title, and Sanford is associate chief nursing officer for academic affairs at UMMC, reflecting the collaboration between nursing and nursing education.
“A close academic practice partnership benefits both organizations who participate,” Sanford said. “Dr. Cherry's recent appointment as the associate dean of clinical affairs in the School of Nursing has had tangible impact. Direct communication removes barriers for collaboration. Working closely together helps us address the transition to practice gap for new nurses. We want our nurses prepared to provide excellent nursing care”
Cherry was an active participant in the school's recent strategic planning process, “providing valuable input into decision making,” Sanford said. “I provided feedback in the same capacity for their strategic planning process.”
The two nursing leaders are promoting conversations and collaboration through monthly Coffee Rounds. Sanford and Cherry deliver coffee to nurses and nursing educators and listen to their ideas.
Cherry said working in concert with the School of Nursing is essential to improving student experiences and clinical outcomes. “On the hospital side, we want to make sure the students are well prepared and have an opportunity to learn evidence-based practice, team-based care. Our ultimate goal is that they become future health care leaders to develop innovative clinical solutions, and subsequently, our patients are recipients of excellent care.”
The School of Nursing is benefiting from Cherry’s clinical insights, Sanford said. “Including our colleagues from clinical nursing ensures relevance as we review our curricula. If our content is old and out of date, we are not doing our jobs. Having the voice of practice in our school is essential to helping our graduates be prepared for the ever-changing world of clinical nursing.”
Cherry said the collaboration between nursing and nursing education highlights the “only” facets of the Medical Center.
“We are able to offer unique experiences for our UMMC students as we are ‘the only’ in so many ways. In Mississippi, we are the only academic medical center, level I trauma center, children’s hospital, and transplant center. I think we are a big draw for many students due to our mission to provide care to such a complex patient population, the collaborative environment, the level of specialization, and our commitment to evidenced-based compassionate care. We aim to be the top choice as an employer and healthcare provider."
Many School of Nursing graduates start their nursing careers at UMMC, which brings advantages to the Medical Center. “We are proud of UMMC nursing graduates, from the new graduate to those completing advanced degrees. Because of our strong clinical affiliation and student nurse extern program, the UMMC students often need less orientation time. They are well prepared, patient- and family-centric, have solid critical thinking skills, work well in teams, and have strong evidence-based practice skills.”
Cherry’s insights are helping the School of Nursing faculty tailor curricula to changes in nursing care. “Dr. Cherry recently served on a panel of experts during our strategic planning retreat,” Sanford said, “She shared the greatest trends and challenges for clinical nursing.”
“I’m honored to work with Dr. Sanford,” Cherry said. “We have such a strong academic partnership that supports work such as preceptor orientation, educator intensive, strategic planning, councils, curriculum development and clinical quality improvement projects. In the future, I hope we will work on joint publications and research projects.”
This strong partnership, Sanford said, “is permeated with a sense of camaraderie and good will. The team-based approach will truly benefit those most important to nursing and nursing education – our patients.”