HRSA grant to bolster nursing workforce efforts

Heidi Keeler, PhD

Heidi Keeler, PhD

The UNMC College of Nursing has been awarded a Health Resources and Services Administration grant that will provide close to $4 million over the next four years.

The project, “An Innovative States-wide Nursing Workforce Clinical Preceptor Academy,” will enable work on multiple facets of nursing workforce preparation within a four-state region, including Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.

This funding, according to project director Heidi Keeler, PhD, provides “resources for innovative education, workforce development, and community engagement needed to address an issue pertinent to all of us: growing and maintaining a prepared nursing workforce.

“At one time or another, we will all require the astute care skills of a nurse,” Dr. Keeler said. “This grant will help ensure that the nurses who train up and coming nurses are ready, available and supported in this critical work, which ultimately results in safe quality care.”

Goals for the grant project include: 

  • Creating academic-clinical-community partnerships to facilitate new clinical faculty opportunities;
  • Assessing of clinical preceptor needs;
  • Addressing barriers to recruitment and retention; 
  • Enhancing collective expertise; and 
  • Harnessing communication networks to create and share preceptor opportunities and resources.

“This is tremendously important work and very exciting,” said Julian Sebastian, PhD, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing. Dr. Sebastian praised Dr. Keeler’s team and the community partners who helped make the grant possible.

The grant team includes: 

  • Dr. Keeler;  
  • Kelly Gonzales, PhD, implementation co-lead 
  • Jill Reed, PhD, implementation co-lead 
  • Teresa Hultquist, PhD, evaluation lead
  • Renee Paulin, professional development lead
  • Nate Beacom, administrative lead 
  • Maninder Hora, IT lead

There also will be two future positions to oversee project development and implementation.

Dr. Keeler thanked the teams and partners on the initial proposal, who included:

  • Sue Nuss, PhD, Ada Wilson, JD, and Kaylie Guinan, Nebraska Medicine;
  • Jed Hansen, PhD, the Nebraska Rural Health Association;
  • Jillian Negri, the Nebraska Nurse Practitioners; and
  • Margaret Woeppel, the Nebraska Hospital Association.