Sep 11

Transforming the Profession of Nursing

Shenandoah University Awarded More Than $1.1 Million To Advance Rural Health Care Initiatives

Shenandoah University has been awarded a three-year grant, in excess of $1.1 million, for a project to integrate interprofessional education into its advanced practice nursing curriculum and prepare health professionals for rural health care initiatives. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

“This is a wonderful opportunity not only for our nursing students, but for all of our health professions students here at Shenandoah,” said Director of the Nurse-Midwifery Program and Associate Professor Juliana Fehr, who serves as the project director. “We are so appreciative that funds have been dedicated to increasing the quality and access of health care to the rural population.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “collaborative practice-ready” health care workers learn to practice in an interprofessional (IP) team. In order to provide this type of professional for the health care workforce, the project created by the Shenandoah University Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing’s graduate program will integrate IP education into the advanced practice nursing curriculum.

The project will also partner with Shenandoah University’s Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, the divisions of physical therapy and occupational therapy and the university’s physician assistant studies program to prepare health professionals to work together to improve health outcomes for persons with multiple chronic conditions and their family caregivers in rural Virginia and West Virginia.

“As Shenandoah University prepares nurses and other health care professionals to work in the changing landscape of a 21st century health care environment, that environment increasingly calls on nurses, pharmacists, physicians and others to work as a team to deliver care in a high quality and safe manner,” said Fehr. “This is especially true when caring for today’s growing population of patients facing multiple chronic conditions. We look forward to the collaborative learning effort this project will provide for our students.”

Central to the project is a web-based virtual IP learning center that will share IP lecture and clinical learning activities with all nursing, pharmacy and health professions students and faculty who will learn to work together in simulated and interactive formats. These same learning opportunities will be offered to students and faculty in remote, rural and medically underserved areas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is fully funding Shenandoah University’s project in the amount of $374,738 in the first year, and has recommended future funding for the second and third years of the project, for a total of $1,120,652.