A public health and primary care collaboration benefits from bringing in professionals with different skills sets.

One enabler is allowing each practitioner to bring flexible and accommodating skill sets to the collaboration. Staff will bring their usual skills within their scope of practice. But at times, they may also have to bring other skills to the collaboration. They will need to be given the flexibility to bring knowledge and skills that are needed at the time to make the collaboration work in the most effective way.

Additionally, collaborations are enabled when consideration is given to the diversity of the population that is being served. One public health nurse offered her views “Really, I think Public Health Nursewe should consider the collaboration membership to include some representation of our community’s visual minorities. Also, we should add an objective to our terms of reference that we will sensitive to the diverse population that we serve.”

Having staff in the organization with experience in both public health and primary care can be a great asset to the collaboration.

AdministratorI can call up our nurse who has experience in primary care and public health any time. If I ask him a question, he has the answer. I have seen him in action. As far as the skill sets and interacting with clients, the skills are there. So as far as personnel goes, that is our number one strength in this partnership.

Example IconSupportive Leadership
As another example, primary care may run community flu clinics with public health for a population that nobody else takes care of, such as the homeless. Leadership needs to be supportive and flexible for front line public health nurses to provide these services, even though it may mean paying more for their time on the weekends to support this vulnerable population group.

Role Flexibility
Another example is public health staff providing services that are not exclusively focused on population health, their usual role, but rather on individual or family care for a short-time to meet immediate needs in the collaboration. The alternative may also be true, if a primary care practitioner contributes to a social media campaign.

Existing Relationships
Another enabler related to optimal use of human resources is the ability for providers in the collaboration to bring in other community resources through existing relationships. Collaborations often involve multiple organizations, especially when comprehensive programs are required.

It is advantageous to capitalize on primary care and public health abilities to pull in human resources from other organizations who have different skill sets. They can effectively complement and expand programs and services. View an example of this in action.

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Role Clarity
It is important to include personnel with appropriate skill sets to meet the needs of a population.  Collaborations are enabled through clarity of roles and clear communication regarding skill sets and level of expertise of the collaboration participants.

Related IconRelated: Role Clarity