A partnership for primary care in areas of need
A new HRSA grant will support primary care training in rural and underserved areas
The UW School of Nursing will help improve capacity for the training of primary care providers in rural and underserved communities in Washington State, thanks to a recent $1.3 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The school will partner with Sea Mar Community Health Centers, an organization that provides a full spectrum of care and services to diverse communities across Washington State through 90 medical, dental and behavioral health clinics and a wide variety of nutritional, social and educational services.
“Providing exposure and focused training of Advanced Practice Nurses in rural health care delivery is a critical step in addressing growing shortage of primary care providers in rural and medically underserved areas of our state,” said Dr. Hilaire Thompson, professor of Nursing and the grant’s principal investigator. “We are so fortunate to have received this funding and to have the partnership of SeaMar Community Health Centers in addressing this need to improve the health of Washingtonians.”
The grant will support training for 41 students and 30 clinical preceptors in the next two years. Training clinical preceptors ensure that more students can be prepared to provide integrated primary health care in rural and medically underserved settings.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students in the following programs can be trained under the HRSA grant: Nurse-Midwifery, Adult-Gerontology, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
The UW School of Nursing will expand an existing clinical partnership with Sea Mar to place advanced practice nursing students at their community health centers, in locations, such as Clark, Skagit and Grays Harbor counties.
“This program will be an excellent opportunity to expose UW DNP students to our busy community health center environment, working in tandem with our dedicated primary care providers, medical and behavioral, as well as dental and pharmacy, under an integrated model of care. We anticipate this experience will create an interest in the students to look for future opportunities to work with underserved communities in the state of Washington,” said Dr. Ricardo Jimenez, Chief Medical Officer at Sea Mar Community Health Centers.
To augment this grant, the School of Nursing will improve classroom offerings for students to learn about rural and medically underserved populations. Faculty are currently working on a revamped rural health class and increased outreach to rural and medically underserved sites for student experiences while in the DNP program.
The HRSA grant is a successful part of an overall initiative to increase the number of primary care providers in rural and underserved communities. Nearly every county in Washington State has been designated Health Professionals Shortage Areas, or HPSA, due to rural, migrant or medically underserved populations.
Historically, nurse practitioners have taken expanded health care roles in these communities to make up for a lack of primary care physicians. More importantly, nurse practitioners traditionally offer holistic health care services, approaching health issues with an eye to a person’s environment, mental health, and barriers to treatment implementation. Patients have expressed high patient satisfaction when cared for by nurse practitioners, citing more time with their provider and a willingness to listen to their concerns.