UNMC College of Nursing Secures $4 Million HRSA Grant to Boost Nursing Workforce

The UNMC College of Nursing has been awarded a substantial grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), providing nearly $4 million over the next four years. This funding will support the ambitious project, “An Innovative States-wide Nursing Workforce Clinical Preceptor Academy,” which aims to enhance nursing workforce preparation across Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri.

According to project director Heidi Keeler, PhD, this grant will deliver crucial resources for innovative education, workforce development, and community engagement. “At one time or another, we will all require the astute care skills of a nurse,” Dr. Keeler emphasized. “This grant will help ensure that the nurses who train up-and-coming nurses are ready, available, and supported in this critical work, ultimately resulting in safe, quality care.”

The project focuses on several key objectives:

  • Creating academic-clinical-community partnerships to facilitate new clinical faculty opportunities
  • Assessing clinical preceptor needs
  • Addressing barriers to recruitment and retention
  • Enhancing collective expertise
  • Increasing cultural competence
  • Harnessing communication networks to create and share preceptor opportunities and resources

“This is tremendously important work and very exciting,” said Juliann Sebastian, PhD, dean of the UNMC College of Nursing. Dr. Sebastian praised Dr. Keeler’s team and the community partners who contributed to securing the grant.

The dedicated grant team includes:

  • Dr. Heidi Keeler
  • Kelly Gonzales, PhD, implementation co-lead
  • Jill Reed, PhD, implementation co-lead
  • Teresa Hultquist, PhD, evaluation lead
  • Renee Paulin, professional development lead
  • Nate Beacom, administrative lead
  • Maninder Hora, IT lead

Additionally, two future positions will oversee project development and implementation.

Dr. Keeler expressed gratitude to the initial proposal teams and partners, including:

  • Sue Nuss, PhD, Ada Wilson, JD, and Kaylie Guinan from Nebraska Medicine
  • Jed Hansen, PhD, from the Nebraska Rural Health Association
  • Jeffrey Harrison, MD, and Lydia Sand from Nebraska Area Health Education Centers (AHEC)
  • Jillian Negri from Nebraska Nurse Practitioners
  • Margaret Woeppel from the Nebraska Hospital Association

This grant represents a significant investment in the future of nursing, ensuring a well-prepared workforce ready to meet the healthcare needs of the community.

Source – HRSA grant to bolster nursing workforce efforts by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications on Oct 18, 2022