Partnering for health

November 3, 2021
Steve Rudolph

University of Minnesota School of Nursing and VA leaders signing collaboratory paperwork

Minneapolis VA Health Care System and School of Nursing leaders attended a signing ceremony for a new Collaboratory.

The Minneapolis VA Health Care System (VAHCS) and University of Minnesota celebrated their 75 years of academic affiliation with the announcement of a new Collaboratory aimed at improving nursing practice, education and patient outcomes.

The collaboration between the University’s School of Nursing and the VA’s Department of Nursing creates a nursing think tank, which serves as an incubator for creativity and innovation. It will engage nursing faculty, nursing staff and nursing students to focus on three areas:

  • Fostering innovative undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education experiences at the Minneapolis VAHCS and supporting veteran-centered care in the curriculum
  • Advancing nursing knowledge to improve and support the health of veterans and their families through research and evidence-based practice
  • Addressing nursing workforce needs for the Minneapolis VAHCS and other VA centers throughout the U.S. and supporting a smooth transition of graduates into practice

“I am so honored to be involved in the first Collaboratory in the history of nursing at the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System,” says Teresa Tungseth, MN, RN, NEA-BC, associate director for patient care services/nurse executive at the Minneapolis VAHCS. “This Collaboratory between our VA and the School of Nursing is essential to the development of our future nursing workforce.”

She says the partnership will help foster innovative research and evidence-based practice experiences for undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Nursing.

“These partnerships help to strengthen nursing practice and prepare current and future nurses to lead change and advance the health of our veterans. Our Collaboratory goal is to transform nursing practice for our veterans by ensuring nurses are prepared to provide the best possible care to veterans and their families, whether here at the VA or in the community,” adds Tungseth.

“The vibrancy of this celebration of 75 years of collaboration between our institutions extends to an even greater commitment to veterans care through this Collaboratory,” says Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP, dean of the School of Nursing. “The School of Nursing welcomes our partnership with the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Health Care System and exceptional nursing leaders to impact care, education and innovation.”

As part of the agreement, key nursing leaders at the Minneapolis VAHCS will hold affiliate faculty status in the School of Nursing and University nursing leadership will hold Without Compensation Appointments at the Minneapolis VA.

A history of collaboration, innovation

The Collaboratory is the latest example of the Minneapolis VAHCS and School of Nursing working together to serve the public. The two began educating nurse anesthetists together in 1996, which led to the first Doctor of Nursing Practice program in nurse anesthesia in the United States.

Other collaborations included the VA Nursing Academic Partnership that enabled the School of Nursing to increase the number of students it prepares to become registered nurses while providing specialized training about veterans’ health. As part of that program, health topics like PTSD, chemical exposure, amputation, traumatic brain injury and substance use disorder as they are experienced by veterans were integrated into the school’s BSN education.

The most recent partnership between with the two was the Minneapolis VAHCS being selected as one of 11 sites nationally to educate leaders and scholars in health care improvement to lead change nationally and internationally, as part of the VA Quality Scholars Program. The two-year doctoral fellowship, with an emphasis on interprofessional, veteran-focused health care improvement, includes dedicated time for School of Nursing faculty at the VA. 

Partnering for health is a recurring feature that highlights a school partnership working to advance health care to improve the health and wellbeing of all.