Palomar Health and University of San Diego Form Historic Nursing Research Partnership that Aims to Become a National Model

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Palomar Health Center for Nursing Excellence and USD Hahn School of Nursing collaboration will address national call for more nurses with advanced degrees. They have applied to become national demonstration projects for graduate nursing training.

Dr. Brenda Fischer, Palomar Health Director of Center for Nursing Excellence (left) and Dr. Sally Brosz Hardin, Dean of USD Hahn School of Nursing

Our experienced academic-service partnership team put careful thought into this model's design with the intent for long term sustainabiity and for other communities across the country to replicate.

Palomar Health’s Center for Nursing Excellence and the University of San Diego (USD) Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science have formed a historic research partnership dedicated to building new knowledge, innovations and improving quality of care.

The partnership between California’s largest Magnet-recognized public health district and one of the top graduate nursing schools in the country will integrate nursing research at a system-wide level at all Palomar Health facilities and provide quality training for a greatly increased number of PhD nurse scientists and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs).

The Palomar and USD nursing partnership aims to become a national model of collaboration, assuring that nurses actualize their roles to the highest levels of their education as recommended in a recent, widely-acclaimed Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing report.

“Our experienced academic-service partnership team put careful thought into this model’s design with the intent for long term sustainability and for other communities across the country to replicate,” says Michael H. Covert, FACHE, President and CEO of Palomar Health.

Dr. Brenda Fischer, Director of Palomar Health’s Center for Nursing Excellence, Dr. Sally Brosz Hardin, Dean of the Hahn School of Nursing, Dr. Cynthia D. Connelly, USD’s Director of Nursing Research, Dr. Shelley Yerger Hawkins, USD’s Director of Doctor of Nursing Practice programs will implement the San Diego Place-Based Immersion Model (PIM).

The academic-service program will lead to more USD doctoral nursing faculty and students conducting dissertation and evidence-based projects at Palomar Health facilities. The district serves a diverse population of more than 500,000 residents in an area that spans more than 800 square miles.

“The strength of this academic service partnership will build new knowledge, innovation and improve outcomes as well as smooth the transition into practice for primary care APRNs,” says Dr. Lorie K. Shoemaker, Palomar Health Chief Nurse Executive.

USD Nursing and Palomar Health are seeking to become a Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration model under the auspices of the U.S. Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS will provide reimbursement to hospitals for the cost of providing clinical training to increased numbers of APRN students. Growing the ranks of APRNs is seen as key to increasing the base of primary care providers in the nation, according to CMS. Hospitals participating in the demonstration must partner with accredited schools of nursing and non-hospital community-based care settings.

“The goal is to improve the health of individuals and populations by improving access to quality primary care in our community,” says Gerald Bracht, FACHE, Chief Administrative Officer of Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, which is the applying hospital under the CMS demonstration.

The Palomar Health-USD partnership includes Arch Health Partners, Graybill Medical Group, North County Health Services and Neighborhood Healthcare Community Clinics.

USD Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Julie Sullivan says, “I’m delighted about the joint collaboration on research activities and innovations in clinical teaching and program development, especially in light of Palomar Health’s new Palomar Medical Center, and USD’s future Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, Advanced Practice, and Simulation.”

USD’s Dean Hardin says the announcement of the partnership is a perfect capstone to a special month of celebrations honoring health care providers: National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week were celebrated in May. She praised Palomar Health’s enlightened vision on the role of nursing research and APRNs in improving quality health care. “This partnership highlights the excellence and innovation of both institutions,” Dr. Hardin says.

About Palomar Health: The northern San Diego County district operates facilities across the full continuum of care, including skilled nursing, home health, population specific services and three acute care facilities: Palomar Health Downtown Campus in Escondido, Pomerado Hospital in Poway, and the new Palomar Medical Center in west Escondido, which is scheduled to open Aug. 19 and is being hailed already as the largest and most innovative hospital project in the country.

About the USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science: The school offers masters and doctoral programs for pediatric, family, adult, gerontology, and psychiatric APRNs. In recent years, USD has tripled its number of graduates while maintaining a high percentage of under-represented and male students, and 99 percent on-time student graduation rates. The school also has a most unique simulation laboratory that utilizes trained actors, case scenarios, video-recording and analytic systems and computerized mannequins for student training.

For more information about the Palomar Health-USD nursing research partnership. Contact, Dr. Brenda Fischer at Palomar Health’s Center for Nursing Excellence at brenda.fischer(at)pph(dot)org or Dr. Sally Brosz Hardin at the USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science at shardin(at)sandiego(dot)edu.

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