Part Two: Building Relationships through Academic-clinical Ph.D./DNP Partners

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What Does the DNP/Ph.D. and Interprofessional Collaboration Look Like?

Fingers crossed…now that you have utilized strategies in part I of our blog, Approaches to Building Academic and Clinical Partnerships through DNP/Ph.D. Collaboration: Supporting the National Academy of Medicine’s Goals for the Future of Nursing 2020-2030, you have found a Ph.D. or DNP nurse to collaborate with on a project. This partnership can be achieved in academia, clinical-based settings, and professional associations. The project(s) can be as small as a shared interest or as large as a multi-site research study. This post will expand on what an academic-clinical.D./DNP partnership can look like.

While building your partnership with a fellow nurse DNP/Ph.D., it is essential to loop in interprofessional colleagues to enhance the impact of your work. Key message number three of the NAM Goals 2020-2030 supports Building Partnerships with Interprofessional Teams to Redesign Health Care. This goal emphasizes that Nurses Should Be Full Partners with Physicians and Other Health Professionals in Redesigning Health Care in the United States.

In November 2023, the latest edition of the interprofessional education competencies supporting ongoing interprofessional partnerships was released (IPEC, 2023). The 2023 Interprofessional Educational Competencies (IPEC) competencies build upon preceding versions and include significant updates and improvements to the previous edition released in 2016. The most recent version can be found here. Take some time to review the new version of the IPEC Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, as it will help your teams in both academia and practice. Also, consider taking time to review TABLE A3. IPEC Poster Fair Award Recipients in the new version to reflect on the collaborative projects with DNP/PhDs and other interprofessional clinicians. For example, in May of 2019, Jodi Allen, DNP, RN, FNP-C, and Nicole Petsas Blodgett, PhD, RN, CHSE from Purdue University Northwest presented a poster on “Developing Sustainable IPE Partnerships to Improve Health of Vulnerable Populations.”

Key Themes of the 2023 version of the IPEC competencies:

  • Person/Client/Family-Centered With An Emphasis on Advocacy
  • Community/Population-Oriented
  • Relationship-Focused
  • Process-Oriented
  • Linkable To Learning Activities, Educational Strategies, And Integrative
  • Assessments that are Culturally And Developmentally Appropriate For The
  • Learner
  • Implementable Across The Learning Continuum
  • Sensitive To Systems Contexts And Applicable Across Practice Settings And
  • Professions
  • Communicated Using A Common Language That Is Meaningful Across The
  • Professions
  • Outcomes-Driven (2023)

Critical Actions to Establishing Impactful Interprofessional Ph.D./DNP Partnerships:

Measuring Value of Investment (VOI)

  • Organization and team members benefit from numerical values (Harper, 2023)
    • Is this project going to bring meaning to your professional growth or organization?

Establishing Team Ground Rules

  • Please don’t rush through your first meeting setting project goals; keep it simple by establishing meeting dates and times with all stakeholders. Without those mutually convenient meeting times, the project goals will not get written or discussed.
  • Outlines and project timelines will assist with accountability and keeping everyone on the same page. Identify milestones and time anticipated to complete the task, assign the person responsible, and plot each task on the timeline. Plenty of project timeline software to assist you; however, you can create your timeline using Word or Excel Spreadsheet.

Setting Realistic, Measurable Project Goals

  • For successful goal setting, use the acronym SMART.
  • SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Nothing is more frustrating than not understanding your project goals or setting unrealistic project goals. So, review SMART plans to ease this part of your collaborative efforts.

Restating Roles of PhDs and DNPs

  • Review the educational process from the Association for Nurses in Nursing Professional Development (ANPD), American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), and IPEC Competencies.
  • There may be some role confusion between PhDs and DNPs regarding project collaboration; however, once the dust clears, cooperation between the two will create a more powerful impact on healthcare innovation and patient outcomes. Discuss roles and responsibilities early to move forward with your partnership.

Supporting Roles of Academic and Clinical Practice Settings

  • Academia must promote DNP and PhD collaboration early in the curriculum by implementing projects during clinical immersion. This could be innovative for interprofessional education and help model effective DNP and PhD collaborations.
  • Ensure that you meet both needs and leverage each party’s strengths; if you need help, and a colleague who helps with one or the other.

Call to Action

Developing a respectful partnership is essential to the success of the DNP and Ph.D. collaboration. Understanding each other’s educational background, strengths, and nursing experience is vital in PhD/DNP collaborative projects. Remember, associations require frequent meetings, timelines, and a mutual understanding of the team’s goals. Most importantly, this partnership may reduce practice gaps, improve patient outcomes, and enhance professional growth.


Amanda Garey, Ph.D., RN, NPDA-BC, EBP-C

Clinical Instructor | Independent Contractor ANCC

University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing

1100 Mechanic St, Galveston, TX 77550


Sharisse A. Hebert, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC

Assistant Professor

Prairie View A&M College of Nursing DNP Program Coordinator

6436 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030

Phone: (713) 797-7050



Harper, M. (6th Ed.). (2023). Core curriculum for nursing professional development. Association for Nursing Professional Development.

Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC). (2023). IPEC Core Competencies Revision FAQs.’s,Relationship%2Dfocused

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAM).,designed%20to%20work%20for%20everyone

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAM). 2021. The future of nursing 2020–2030: Charting a path to achieve health equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Strategic plan. Interprofessional Education Collaborative. Accessed August 29, 2023.

Startup Meeting Brainstorming – Free photo on Pixabay – Pixabay

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