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Building the Clinical Bridge: An Australian Success

DOI: 10.1155/2012/579072

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Nursing effectiveness science includes primary, secondary, and translational, clinically focused research activities which aim to improve patient or client outcomes. It is imperative, for the successful conduct of a program of nursing effectiveness science, that a clinical bridge is established between academic and healthcare service facilities. An Australian example of the development of a robust clinical bridge through the use of jointly funded positions at the professorial level is outlined. In addition, an analysis of the practical application of Lewin’s model of change management and the contribution of both servant and transformational leadership styles to the bridge building process is provided. 1. Introduction In Australia, a relatively popular strategy, aimed at improving collaboration between clinicians and research focused academics, has been the appointment of a Professor of Nursing and/or Midwifery into a Clinical Chair position, jointly funded by a university and a health service or hospital (a joint Clinical Chair). There has been much commentary, especially in Australia, about the development of such positions [1–4]. What is not so clear from this commentary is what elements surrounding this strategy lead to successful collaborative partnerships and the development of a clinical bridge to enable nursing effectiveness science. By nursing effectiveness science we mean primary, secondary, and translational, clinically focused research activities which aim to improve patient or client outcomes. Activities involved in nursing effectiveness science include systematic reviews and meta-analyses of previously conducted research studies, exploratory, correlational, and experimental clinical research studies, and translational research studies aimed at changing clinical practice. In this paper we outline the antecedents that shaped one university-health service collaboration and the change management strategies which helped construct the clinical bridge. We also explore how different types of leadership facilitated the achievement of outcomes, and finally we comment on future directions for nursing effectiveness science. 2. The Context Joint Clinical Chair positions in nursing emerged, in Australia, in the late 1980s. By 1996 there were 20 joint Clinical Chairs in Australia [5] and currently there are many more. Generally, these positions are appointed at the level of Professor although some have been appointed at the level of Associate Professor. There is also a distinction between “generic” joint Clinical Chairs (i.e., Professor of Nursing,


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