Grant Aims To Close Gap in Rural Primary Care Workforce

A federal grant for the Advancing Nursing Education Workforce program aims to place nurse practitioner students in rural county clinics in Florida.

Florida International University Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences College has partnered with Glades and Hendry counties on the rural program.

The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, dedicates $1.39 million to implement the ANEW program.

This unique, two-year nursing education aims to prepare advanced practice nurses to provide primary care in rural and underserved areas through academic and clinical training.

The U.S. faces many healthcare challenges, especially in rural areas, such as Hendry and Glades counties in Florida. The ANEW program seeks to provide better access to and delivery of healthcare for patients in those counties through its innovative academic practice partnership model.

FIU graduate nursing students picked for the program will receive traineeship awards through a competitive application process matching them with rural primary healthcare sites. The grant will be funded through June 30, 2019.

The ANEW program builds upon an existing partnership with county leaders on a rural health research project that began in 2015 known as “Building Better Health for Florida Families.”

The research project was developed and led by ANEW Grant Project Director Tami Thomas, PhD, RN, FAANP, FAAN, associate dean of academic affairs for the college.

Thomas said access to healthcare for rural families is an ongoing need. This program also aims to make healthcare professionals more aware of rewarding opportunities beyond common urban and metropolitan work settings.

“The college continues to lead the way in innovative healthcare solutions and outreach to disadvantaged communities that have never received this type of support before,” Ora Strickland, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the college, said in a press release.

“ANEW is a ‘triple win’ for advanced practice nursing,” she continued. “Students can expand their training, primary care providers get more support to deliver care and communities in desperate need receive access to healthcare. Its success should serve as a replicable model for the nation.”

Goals of the ANEW program

  • Helping faculty develop innovative teaching strategies to enhance student clinical leadership skills
  • Embracing team building and collaborative problem-solving skills
  • Experience providing culturally appropriate care
  • Learning to integrate technology to improve patient outcomes and refine processes

Faculty will use several approaches, such as telehealth systems, to guide ANEW grant trainees to deliver onsite care at the both county clinics.