A $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will enable the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ College of Nursing to train more nurse practitioners to provide health care for aging adults in Arkansas.
UAMS was one of 21 institutions to receive funding from the department’s Health Resources and Services Administration’s Advanced Nursing Education program.
"We remain committed to preparing nurses to improve health care in Arkansas," Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., R.N., interim dean of the UAMS College of Nursing said in a news release. "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’ partner hospitals.
Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., principal investigator of the grant and director of the John A. Hartford Center for Gerontological Nursing Excellence , 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," Beverly said. "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."
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.