How Does Negotiating a Partnership Agreement Influence Relationships in a BSN Clinical Experience?

Sunday, 30 July 2017

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

Purpose: Partnership agreements are negotiated among partners to air out wishes, fears and concerns and to spell out expectations prior to jumping into collaborations. They have been used among partners in writing collaborations with success. To date, no one has explored their use with clinical students in baccalaureate nursing education. After one author experienced the positive influence of a partnership agreement within a professional relationship, she was curious about how negotiating one with her clinical students might influence their relationships with her and with one another. This project examines the influence of breaking down principles of domination inherent in nursing education and pedagogy and instead creates a partnership-based relationship. The partnership agreement is a concrete device to open a dialogue between the student and teacher. Such an agreement recognizes and values their worries and concerns as well as their prior experience and knowledge. It also give credence to their desires and wants from the clinical experience. Furthermore, the teacher is also given the opportunity to share their wishes, fears and concerns, thus potentially deepening the relationship between student and teacher.

Methods: This project was initiated in the fall semester of 2015 and repeated in the fall semester of 2016 with senior nursing students completing their adult medical-surgical clinical. On the last day of clinical, students were asked to anonymously handwrite their answers to the following questions: 1) How did negotiating a partnership agreement this semester affect your relationships with each other as a clinical group? 2) How did negotiating a partnership agreement affect your relationship with me? Forty students responded to the questions. Handwritten responses were transcribed to a word processing program and analyzed for recurring themes.

Results: Preliminary content analysis reveals a positive influence on the relationships between nursing students and between nursing students and their teacher.

Conclusion: Findings have implications for using partnership agreements to positively impact the relationships between nursing students and their peers and with their teachers.