With a growing need for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to serve patients in rural and underserved areas, the West Virginia University School of Nursing is implementing a new project to enhance educational and clinical experiences for advanced practice nursing students while addressing the complex healthcare needs of West Virginia.
A team of faculty from the WVU School of Nursing will implement the “Improving Nursing Scholarship, Practice, Innovation, Research and Education to Care for WV (INSPIRE to Care for WV)” project through a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration. As part of the project, the School of Nursing will collaborate with new and expanded healthcare partners around the state to strengthen the education of family nurse practitioner students to care for the needs of the vulnerable, rural and underserved of West Virginia, while enhancing the advanced practice role of nurses in the state.
“This is a critical time for healthcare in our nation,” said Toni DiChiacchio, assistant dean for faculty practice and community engagement and project director for the grant. “The needs of patients in West Virginia, particularly in rural and underserved areas, are vast and very complex. Through theINSPIRE project, we want to take the lead in ensuring our APRNs receive exceptional training and educational opportunities so that they can provide the very best care to these patients.”
The INSPIRE project includes partnerships with free clinics in West Virginia to assist in providing holistic primary care in collaboration with Wheeling Health Right and Milan Puskar Health Right in Morgantown. The team will assist in developing new programs to address primary care needs in the Eastern Panhandle with partnerships with the Berkeley County Health Department and Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, as well as Jefferson Medical Center in Ranson. Students enrolled in the WVU School of Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner post-master’s certificate and Doctor of Nursing Practice degree programs will be involved in the project.
Earlier this month, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced details of the first year funding for the grant to support additional training for advanced practice nurses.
“Nurses play a vital role in the health care industry and the overall well-being of West Virginia’s communities,” Capito said. “The funding being awarded to WVU will assist nurse trainees with the costs for materials used during their traineeship and will lead to a stronger and more robust health care system.”
“I am pleased that West Virginia University will receive this funding to allow more students to partake in its training program,” Manchin said. “West Virginia’s nurses play an important role in our health care system and it is of the upmost importance that we continue to invest in their training and development. This is great news for WVU and the future of health care in our state.”
The INSPIRE team also will work collaboratively with students and healthcare partners in West Virginia to review policies and changes to the nation’s evolving healthcare system; identify innovative processes to improve the delivery of care and enhance the patient experience; and develop communication to strengthen learning outcomes for students while also providing opportunities to share ideas that will address specific issues of rural and underserved communities in West Virginia.
“This amazing team of nursing professionals is dedicated to expanding the knowledge and skills of our nurses who will be providing much needed care to patients, particularly our fellow West Virginians. We have a tremendous need for nurses in this expanded role, and this is a wonderful opportunity for the School of Nursing to address those needs,” said Tara Hulsey, dean of the WVU School of Nursing.
In addition to DiChiacchio, School of Nursing faculty members Joy Buck,Roger Carpenter, “Sandra “Sam Cotton, Teresa Ritchie and Martha Summers will assist with the implementation of the INSPIRE project.