The UNMC College of Nursing has received a four-year, $1.67 million grant to launch a residency program for recently graduated nurse practitioners in rural and underserved areas.
Just as physicians and other health professionals participate in residency training - on-the-job training after graduation -- so will some nurse practitioners in Nebraska. Residency training exposes recent graduates to a myriad of experiences, which not only allows them to gain proficiency in specialized skills, but also receive support by supervising health professionals.
Residents also will learn skills for working with primary care patients as well as medically complex and socially vulnerable patients and their families.
The grant is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
LeAnn Holmes, D.N.P., principal investigator of the grant, said it is only one of eight grants awarded nationwide, and will be the first NP residency in the region, focused on preparing new nurse practitioner graduates both academically and clinically for the unique challenges of practicing primary care in rural and underserved communities.
"The first year of practice can be overwhelming to new nurse practitioners, who are working with complex patients with multiple medical issues who may also have financial and distance barriers," Dr. Holmes said. "Having mentored-support in a health care setting can make the difference in turnover of these newly graduated nurse practitioners. Data supports the need for this training.
"The residency gives them more time, experience, support and specialized training. Our residency will focus on areas that are medically underserved, and may be rural, where nurse practitioners are more likely to be practicing by themselves. The residency program framework has shown to be effective in helping retain new graduates as well as a way to serve this population."
Nurse practitioners specializing in family care, women's health or psychiatry who have graduated within one year from a master's or doctorate program as a nurse practitioner are eligible to apply. Residents will receive a salary for a full year.
The college is working with a statewide network of primary care facilities to establish residency practices. Health facilities are likely to include Federally Qualified Health Centers and the Veterans Administration of Nebraska and Western Iowa Health Care System. The UNMC College of Nursing will have up to five preceptors in Omaha and Lincoln using distance technology to support and connect with residents.
"Creative ideas like this enrich innovations in student learning, clinician practice, and the nursing practice environment in Nebraska and beyond," said Julie Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing. "In addition to the other teaching, practice, and research grants in the college, all of these together are advancing nursing and health."