UAMS College of Nursing Gets $1.9 Million HRSA Grant for Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Training

By Susan Van Dusen

UAMS was one of 21 institutions to receive funding from the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Advanced Nursing Education program. The HRSA program announced $11.1 million in funding to the institutions, including UAMS, to support the training of new nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses.

“We remain committed to preparing nurses to improve health care in Arkansas,” said Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., interim dean of the UAMS College of Nursing. “This grant, which will greatly impact the care afforded to the state’s aging population, affirms our dedication to the UAMS mission.”

The funds will foster the Geriatric Advanced Practice program through a partnership between the John A. Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing and five of the Arkansas Aging Initiatives’ (AAI) partner hospitals. AAI is a program of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging that partners with the UAMS regional centers, local hospitals, colleges, universities and communities to provide health care to aging adults.

“This grant will definitely focus on health care for aging adults,” said Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., principal investigator of the grant and director of the John A. Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence (HCGNE) and the Geriatric Advanced Practice project. “In primary care, the older adults are particularly underserved and this will help us improve that care with a focus on nurse practitioners.”

She said the goal is to provide training for an additional 50 to 60 nurse practitioners with the funding through the College of Nursing’s Master of Nursing Science specialty degree in adult gerontology primary care. The degree program has 16 students in its current class and expects to attract 15 to 20 students in each class moving forward.

“A significant portion of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and an increasing number have two or more,” said Beverly. “Nurse practitioners possess the skills to provide primary care to a wide range of aging adults, and helping these individuals manage and prevent these chronic conditions will continue to be something nurse practitioners play a vital role in.”

The grant will also support a partnership between the College of Nursing and the UAMS Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS) to work with patients with congestive heart failure through telemedicine, in addition to further interprofessional education training for students.

“We have a strong, knowledgeable team that worked together to secure this grant,” said Beverly. “It is exciting to work with this group and see what strong faculty leadership has developed because of the center.”

Co-principal investigators of the grant are Leanne Lefler, Ph.D., associate professor; Bill Buron, Ph.D., assistant dean for nursing; and Melodee Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor, all in the College of Nursing.