UNE Receives two-year Grant to Train Students in Community and Public Health Nursing

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The University of New England’s Department of Nursing has received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nurse, Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) program to train students in in community and public health nursing.

The grant, titled Upstream Practicums in Nursing Program, is a two-year $715,000 award and will provide 12 UNE students with a community health nursing curriculum and accompanying clinical experience in partnership with Greater Portland Health, a federally qualified health center with five sites serving vulnerable populations including immigrants and refugees, low income seniors and Portland’s homeless population. Nursing student participants will achieve essential knowledge, skills and cultural competencies to enter the workforce in community-based settings. The training will give students valuable experience and help to meet a need for skilled nurses. “This is a wonderful accomplishment for the Department of Nursing,” said Director Jen Morton, D.N.P., M.S., M.P.H., R.N. “We look forward to building an infrastructure that supports community-based nursing care as an integral component to pre-licensure nursing education and expanding the capacity of graduates entering the community and public health nursing workforce.”

UNE’s strategy in this academic-practice partnership is to provide senior-level nursing students with meaningful experiences in community-based clinical sites at Greater Portland Health’s 5 clinics and involves the following objectives: to develop and integrate a series of didactic and community-based clinical curriculum advances designed to increase the capacity of new nursing graduates to practice in community health primary care settings; to establish a community- based partnership with Greater Portland Health and its clinical sites that promotes the knowledge, skills and attitudes of community-based learning for students, while improving the health of clients; to recruit a total of 12 senior level UNE nursing students to participate in the Upstream Practicum; and to expand its Nurse Leader Institute to a statewide Consortium that includes senior level students enrolled in the Upstream Practicum.

UNE concurs that optimal community health is best achieved through health promotion and prevention rather than disease treatment.  Its program design is thoughtfully informed by the UK Royal College of Nursing’s “Upstream Nursing” model that recognizes the powerful role of nurses in creating this meaningful paradigm shift within communities.

Project Director Dr. Jennifer Morton (UNE) and other administrative key personnel (UNE/Greater Portland Health) will lead the program. The program will begin with marketing to freshman and sophomore students while creating engagement activities through a student-led, Community Health Nursing Club.  Ongoing recruitment efforts will secure student participants for Upstream Practicums in Nursing through a required “3D’s” (disparity, determinants, diversity) course and active clinical engagement at Greater Portland Health’s 5 clinics. Comprehensive process and outcome evaluations according to Rapid Cycle Quality Improvement will be conducted over the 2-year award period.

FMI: Contact Dr. Jennifer Morton, UNE Director of Nursing at jmorton@une.edu or (207) 221-4438

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