Samford University's Ida Moffett School of Nursing will receive $3.5 million over a four-year period to place nurse practitioner graduates in rural, underserved areas for primary care residency. The grant is the largest in Samford University's history.
The Advanced Nursing Education - Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration is designed to prepare new nurse practitioners to deliver quality primary care in community-based settings. During the year-long program, nurse practitioner residents will complete academic coursework and clinical hours in underserved population locations.
"For nearly 100 years, Ida Moffett School of Nursing has prepared nurses to serve the underserved," said Nena Sanders vice provost of Samford's College of Health Sciences and nursing school dean. "This grant affords us the opportunity to enhance the skillsets of our graduates and place caring, competent nurse practitioners where the needs are greatest."
The grant will facilitate the launch of the first residency program housed within the nursing school.
According to professor and grant manager Stephanie Wynn, the program will place a special priority on addressing value-based care, telehealth, obesity and mental health issues.
"98 percent of Alabama's counties are designated, either all or in part, as a Medically Underserved Area or a Health Professional Shortage Area," Wynn said.
55 of Alabama's 67 counties are considered rural, and only two of those 55 are considered to have the minimum number of providers available. The state's population per physician ratio exceeds 3,000 to one in many rural areas.
"Nearly 44 percent of Alabama's population lives in rural areas, yet 70 percent of primary care physicians practice within Alabama's five largest counties," Wynn said.
During their rotations, residents will receive training in vital telehealth technology reducing accessibility issues for patients that would otherwise need to travel long distances to seek care. "By providing residents with telehealth training, rural communities will gain direct access to specialists in the urban areas," said Jill Cunningham, nurse practitioner department chair.
Cunningham and Wynn are leading the residency and curriculum development with the support of an interprofessional team of educators. The first cohort of ten nurse practitioners will begin their rotations July 1, 2020.
Ida Moffett School of Nursing offers nurse practitioner coursework that is aligned with the needs of today's heath care environment. Students choose from specialty areas such as family, emergency or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and entry points are available for associate, bachelors, masters and doctoral degree holders. Advanced practice registered nurse, nurse practitioner certificates are also available. Regardless of the selected specialty area, graduates are prepared to provide excellent, patient-centered care.