October 9, 2019

Community health care providers announce two collaborations

Edwards nursing Purdue nursing professor Nancy Edwards talks to nurse practitioner students Elizabeth Wang (middle) and Megan Klotz during a nursing clinical at Riggs Community Health Center in Lafayette. (Purdue University photo) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Increasing access to behavioral health resources and the provision of more experienced nurse practitioners serving rural and underserved populations are the goals of two new collaborations between four Indiana health organizations.

The four organizations – Purdue University’s School of Nursing, Riggs Community Health Center, Valley Oaks Health and North Central Nursing Clinics – will work together to educate students in Purdue’s four nurse practitioner programs, as well as launch a nurse practitioner residency program at Riggs.

Nancy Edwards, project director for the HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant and a professor in Purdue University’s School of Nursing, is coordinating the educational initiatives and clinical placements for 15 nurse practitioner students who will be seeing patients at Riggs, Valley Oaks and North Central Nursing Clinics through the $2.7 million grant.

Edwards, who also serves as assistant head for graduate programs and director of the adult geriatric nurse practitioner program, said the goal of the project is to increase mental health competencies for all nurse practitioners in order to increase access to mental health services for Indiana residents.

“With a shortage of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners can do behavioral health screenings and treatment of non-complex mental health conditions in a primary care setting, freeing up space for complex cases with behavioral health specialists such as psychiatrists and mental health counselors,” Edwards said.

Valley Oaks will develop preceptors to work with psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students, who will see patients in community mental health settings.

“Our clinical partners are excited to have students on site beyond seeing patients,” Edwards said. “This is a great recruiting tool as the students will be familiar with patient populations, policies, facilities, electronic medical record systems and more. This is a win-win.”

The second collaboration is a $2.3 million grant awarded to Riggs Community Health Center to establish an advanced nurse practitioner residency program. Through the HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner Residency (ANE-NPR) grant,  Riggs will collaborate with Purdue’s School of Nursing, Valley Oaks Health and North Central Nursing Clinics to develop a formal education program, mental health training and clinical sites for the nurse practitioner residents to better serve urban and rural underserved populations. The goal of this initiative is to increase the experience and skill set of up to eight nurse practitioners who are transitioning from students to providers. Through this residency program, beginning practitioners will receive a year of guided specialization experiences, additional clinical practice, leadership and education to provide quality care to individuals in rural and underserved settings.

Bambi McQuade-Jones, president, CEO and vice president of medical affairs for Riggs and grant project director, said community partner collaborations like this are key to helping expand health care services to various populations.

“This is a phenomenal opportunity to develop a nurse practitioner as a solid primary care provider. Physicians are not able to fill every position,” McQuade-Jones said. “This will help provide quality care for our patients, as well as allow nurse practitioners to become more experienced and more comfortable in clinical settings.”

McQuade-Jones expects lots of interest in the program from across the state and nation. “People across the country try to get into select programs such as this at other locations.”

The Advanced Nursing Education Workforce is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T94HP30876.

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-496-2571, oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

Sources: Nancy Edwards, 765-494-4015, edwardsn@purdue.edu

Bambi McQuade-Jones, 765-742-1567, BmcQuade@riggshealth.com. To interview McQuade-Jones, please contact Heather Jackson at 765-742-1567 or email hjackson@riggshealth.com

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