The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) with a $2.8 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant—one of the largest the college has ever received.
Jessica Sullivan leads MCN’s Family Nurse Practitioner program and is the grant’s project director. She said with the grant, family nurse practitioner students will have a three to six-month clinical experience in a rural or underserved setting.
“The idea with that is that they have more exposure to vulnerable populations, so that they feel more prepared to care for those populations when they graduate,” Sullivan said.
She said rural and underserved populations are continually identified as populations that primary care providers are not prepared to care for.
“We will prepare these primary care family nurse practitioners to go out and meet the needs of the patients where they need to be cared for,” she said.
For example, Sullivan said, rural patients wouldn’t have to travel long distances for care if there was a local nurse practitioner.
The grant will also fund patient simulation scenarios focused on mental health, opioid use disorders, and telehealth, she said.
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