NDSU nursing receives grant to advance care in rural areas


June 29, 2017 Fargo, North Dakota – The School of Nursing at North Dakota State University has received a federal grant award that allows NDSU Nursing to enhance its partnerships in rural areas to educate and prepare family nurse practitioners. It also is forming academic partnerships with rural health care providers to interact and teach from rural sites via a distance learning system.

The Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Grant Award of $513,992 will assist NDSU as it promotes clinical education in rural and other areas where there are shortages of health care professionals.

“There is a projected 40 percent growth in the need for nurse practitioners in the state through 2024. The vacancy rate for nurse practitioners was more than 13 percent last year, according to statistics from the Labor Market Information Center,” said Carla Gross, associate dean of NDSU’s School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions. “As the state’s land grant university, one of our goals is to prepare students to serve as health professionals in rural areas,” she said.

There are 55 medically underserved areas in North Dakota, according to the Health Resources Administration Data Warehouse.

The NDSU School of Nursing provides advanced nursing education for family nurse practitioner students both in Fargo and at the NDSU School of Nursing at Sanford Health in Bismarck. Since 2004, more than 90 percent of NDSU’s advanced practice graduates in nursing remain within 230 miles of their training, helping to serve rural areas.

NDSU assistant professors of practice Dean Gross and Mykell Barnacle developed the competitive grant proposal to promote health care workforce development. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the funding under grant number HRSA-17-067.

“The primary purpose is to help provide exceptional health care services for people across the state in conjunction with health care partners,” said Dean Gross, assistant professor of practice.

With grant funding, the NDSU School of Nursing will integrate information about the complexities of rural health care into its existing curriculum to educate family nurse practitioner students. It also will provide students greater exposure to rural clinical practice and seek to expand students’ interactions with rural preceptors as clinical leaders.

“Historically, we have noted that students who participate in clinical rotations in rural or health professional shortage areas have an increased likelihood to seek employment in those areas,” said Mykell Barnacle, assistant professor of practice. “More than 50 percent of our graduates are employed in clinics in rural or health professional shortage areas since the inception of NDSU’s family nurse practitioner program in 2001.”

NDSU School of Nursing will enhance clinical competencies of its graduate nursing students and increase the number of its family nurse practitioners completing their clinical education in health professional shortage areas. Over the next two years, students who commit to completing at least 50 percent of their clinical hours at a rural health care site will receive priority points for admission to the program.

The grant will fund education and traineeships through June 2019. NDSU School of Nursing is the only nursing school in the state to receive an HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant in 2017.

NDSU’s family nurse practitioner program was named Top 38 in the nation out of 186 schools by U.S. News and World Report.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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