Creating Us: Partnership Agreements With Nursing Students in a BSN Clinical

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Kimberly D. Belcik, PhD
St. David's School of Nursing, Texas State University, Round Rock, TX, USA

Purpose: Partnership agreements (PA) are co-created among partners and serve as a mechanism to reveal wishes, fears, and concerns about a relationship before jumping headlong into a collaboration. Through a 4-step process (Heinrich, 2011), partners turn their wishes, fears, and concerns into a covenant and contract which act as a living document to support the collaboration. After experiencing a partnership agreement (PA) with a nurse-colleague within a professional relationship, a nurse faculty was curious about how negotiating a PA with nursing students might work. A partnership agreement is a tool that enables a dialogue between the nursing student and teacher, breaks down the principles of domination inherent in nursing education, and instead creates a partnership-based relationship (Eisler and Potter, 2014).

Methods: This presentation shares how to apply the 4-step partnership agreement process with a group of ten nursing students in an adult medical-surgical clinical course. The partnership agreement process is introduced by the teacher on the first day of clinical by asking the nursing students, “Would you be interested in co-creating a partnership agreement as a clinical group this semester?” If there is agreement, the 4-step PA process unfolds over the course of the first five weeks of a semester and ends with a PA that supports the student-teacher and student-student relationship over the duration of a 15-week semester.

Results: The 4-step process of creating partnership agreements has been used successfully with more than five clinical groups. A preliminary content analysis reveals a positive influence on the relationships among the nursing students and the nursing students with their teacher (Belcik and Levenson, 2017).

Conclusion: Faculty in schools of nursing should consider using the 4-step partnership agreement process with their next group of nursing students in clinical. Partnership agreements with nursing students should be considered in other clinical experiences within the curriculum.