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Purdue, Provider Organizations Team Up to Expand Access Through Practitioner Programs

November 04, 2019

Four Indiana organizations are collaborating to increase access to behavioral healthcare and provide more experienced nurse practitioners to serve rural and underserved populations.

The Purdue University School of Nursing, Riggs Community Health Center, Valley Oaks Health and North Central Nursing Clinics are teaming up for Purdue’s four nurse practitioner programs and a nurse practitioner residency program at Riggs. The North Central Nursing Clinics are part of Purdue University and are located in four rural areas in Indiana.

In total, 15 nurse practitioner students will see patients at Riggs, Valley Oaks and North Central Nursing Clinics, with funding from a $2.7 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant. The idea behind the program is to increase access to mental health services for underserved populations in Indiana by developing mental health competencies for all nurse practitioners.

Nancy Edwards, PhD, ANP-BC, RN, a professor in Purdue’s School of Nursing and program director for the HRSA ANEW grant, tells BHE that students in the program are required to complete 210 hours in a rural access clinic.

“If we get students from rural areas and educate them in rural areas, they’re more likely to stay there,” says Edwards, who also continues to practice one day per week at Riggs. “That’s why we have all of our students do rotations through rural areas. Those who really are interested, we let them do more than one rotation in rural areas to better understand the special needs of those who are underserved and how we can address those needs in relation to how we do in more urban areas.”

A $2.3 million HRSA Advanced Nursing Education Nurse Practitioner (ANE-NPR) grant awarded to Riggs will fund the development of an educational program, mental health training and clinical sites for nurse practitioner residents to better serve urban and rural populations. As part of the residency, eight practitioners receive a year of guided specialization experience, clinical practice, leadership and education with the goal of increasing the experience and skills as part of the transition from student to provider.

In a news release announcing the program, Riggs president, CEO and VP of medical affairs Bambi McQuade-Jones said she expects the program to draw interest from students both in Indiana and across the nation.

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