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The Power of Collaboration


Staff member
Feb 16, 2024
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Nursing students gain valuable knowledge about the healthcare supply chain​

Examples of successful partnerships can be found in just about any area of life. The significance of collaboration among healthcare and academia can’t be understated, as it has led to amazing advances throughout history, including those in research, medications and medical devices, to name a few.


A clinically integrated supply chain is the goal of progressive health systems looking to maximize cost, quality and outcomes. Such integration is the impact of successful value analysis teams, who rely upon the collaboration of supply chain leaders as well as the physicians and clinicians who use products on the front lines of care delivery to help in decision-making and purchasing processes.

“There is tremendous power in the words ‘partnership’ and ‘collaboration,’ ” shares Carla McKenzie, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Dean of the Galen College of Nursing’s Nashville Campus. “That is the essence of how we added a new component to our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum at Galen’s Nashville campus.”

The idea started off with a collaboration between colleagues at Galen College of Nursing and HealthTrust Performance Group.

Igniting a spark​


Stephanie Thompson, PharmD, MBA

Two members of HealthTrust’s Clinical Services Team were discussing knowledge process gaps that often exist for new nurses with their VP, Stephanie Thompson, PharmD, MBA. HealthTrust colleagues, AVP Kim Kelly, MSN, RN, and Director Jenny Werthman, Ph.D., MBA, RN, NE-BC, shared that when in nursing school, they did not have coursework on the healthcare supply chain and its role in ensuring product availability for quality patient care. An understanding of how the products get to a facility and who makes purchasing decisions is not a typical component of an RN’s training.


Kim Kelly, MSN, RN

Thompson recalled her time pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy degree and the positive impact both residency programs and mentoring had on her. As the discussion continued, the team envisioned a scenario in which knowledge of a clinically integrated supply chain and the work of HealthTrust’s Advisory Boards could be shared with students at Galen to expand their practical learning.

An idea takes flight​

The Clinical Services Team approached McKenzie with the idea. With experience as both a nurse educator with HCA Healthcare and in academia, McKenzie has a passion for education, mentoring and nurse development, and she was intrigued by this potential partnership.


Jenny Werthman, Ph.D., MBA, RN, NE-BC

The team at Galen agreed that nurses often begin their careers without an understanding of the particulars related to how products and equipment are selected and ordered, where they are stored, why they are organized the way they are and other logistical considerations. Clinical leadership within both organizations felt it was a natural fit to enrich the BSN students’ experience by exposing them to some of the critical supply chain work that goes on behind the scenes.

The pilot program​

The Galen team has discussed ways it could engage HealthTrust colleagues in curriculum related to communications, leadership and management, evidence-based practices and research. In a new pilot program, BSN students can now elect to supplement their learning through exposure to communications and teamwork within HealthTrust. They are able to see how it applies to leadership initiatives, clinically integrated supply chain strategy and effective collaboration among peers.

Students in the program are invited to attend HealthTrust Advisory Board meetings related to products used for nursing, surgery, cardiovascular services or radiology. Participating students gain a real-world understanding of a product category and the impact a product change can have on a facility, leadership and the nursing staff. The experience culminates in a collaboration between students and HealthTrust Clinical Services as they create and present posters illustrating the effective communication and teamwork necessary to implement a product change within a facility.

Making an impact​

The program has had a positive impact on student experience and understanding. “The poster presentations,” McKenzie says, “have challenged our students’ creativity. We are giving them the opportunity to think on their feet and collaborate as part of a team.”


Ashley Nason

From a nurse educator’s perspective, Galen instructor Ashley Nason, MSN, BSN, RN, agrees, adding, “It is critically important when building a student’s confidence to have them participate in real-world processes, interact with nursing and healthcare leaders and receive the feedback that comes from such learning.”

Werthman adds, “Not only are we educating nurses about the healthcare supply chain, but we are also helping them to feel empowered to collaborate with supply chain partners in the hospitals where they work, bringing value to their patients.”

Students from this first cohort will graduate in July 2024. They have provided positive feedback on the pilot learning experience, citing an increased understanding of value-based decision-making related to product selection. They also report a newfound appreciation for the level of communication and clinical knowledge involved in making those decisions.

“It’s overwhelming to step into a facility as a new nurse,” says Kelly. “Our hope is to empower students with meaningful experiences and knowledge. Giving them exposure to what happens in product selection and how they can get involved also shows that their voice is important and that they can make a positive impact.”

Leadership within both organizations look forward to seeing how the partnership continues to evolve.

For more information, contact your HealthTrust Account Manager or visit healthtrustpg.com/contact-us/learn-more.

The post The Power of Collaboration appeared first on HealthTrust - Performance Improvement For Healthcare.
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