A local university has received a grant to train nurse practitioners to work in rural areas.
Grand Valley State University's Kirkhof College of Nursing received a four-year, $2.8 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to work with two Michigan health care systems to graduate more students in this field.
Through a collaboration with McLaren Health Care and Mercy Health Muskegon, the grant will support 15 qualified students who will enroll in KCON's doctor of nursing practice program.
“The intention is to support registered nurses who are committed to serving the communities where they live with the opportunity to advance their education,” said Cynthia McCurren, dean of KCON and professor of nursing. “A portion of the grant funds will support the students financially, removing a significant barrier to their education.”
McCurren added the students will be equipped with experiences and skills needed to address the unique challenges of delivering health care in rural areas.
Katherine Moran, KCON associate dean for graduate programs, is the primary investigator for the grant. Moran said other key components of the grant are the co-design of clinical education with practice partners, an emphasis on the use of technology to enhance care delivery and the integration of mental health into primary care.
“Patients in some rural areas of Michigan lack access to care for mental or behavioral health disorders,” Moran said. “Our DNP program intentionally focuses on integrating mental and behavioral health care into the primary care setting.”
Recruitment of qualified students begins this month, with the first cohort enrolling in the fall semester.
A one-year, $332,600 federal grant 2016 provided the initial foundation for KCON’s expertise in this area, as it supported the preparation of nurse practitioners to serve in rural communities.