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Community Health Network Foundation receives $2.5 million award to transform primary care nursing

For release on May 23, 2018

Federal funding will revolutionize nursing education, practice to meet evolving primary care demands

Indianapolis, IN Community Health Network Foundation has received a four-year $2,564,978 award from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to transform the delivery of primary care through enhanced undergraduate nursing education and redefined nursing practice in the primary care setting. The grant is effective July 1, 2018, and allows Community Health Network to expand an educational partnership with the University of Indianapolis (UIndy) School of Nursing.

With the support of HRSA funding, UIndy will revolutionize its undergraduate nursing curriculum by adding a first-of-its-kind Minor in Primary Care Nursing and the opportunity to receive intensive clinical training at Community from a primary care RN preceptor. Upon graduating, students will have received training in population health and holistic care, social determinants of health, preventative health screenings and education, chronic disease management, care coordination and navigation, transitional care, pain management and mental health and substance use treatment. In addition, existing UIndy School of Nursing courses will be infused with primary care didactic and clinical components, ensuring that all students receive exposure to primary care nursing practices.

“Nursing education has traditionally focused on preparing nurse graduates to assume a career and first employment in an acute care setting,” said Norma Hall, DNP, RN-BC, CNE and Dean, School of Nursing, University of Indianapolis. “The University of Indianapolis is committed to preparing its graduates to work in a variety of healthcare settings. The development of a minor in primary care nursing with clinical experiences in ambulatory care provided by Community Health Network will prepare our nursing graduates to assume positions outside the hospital. We are thrilled to serve the healthcare needs of Indiana residents by preparing our graduates for this new and exciting career path.”

While UIndy oversees changes in curricula for RN students, Community will ensure the training of primary care RN preceptors and identifying of primary care training sites, as well as developing and establishing an enhanced primary care nursing position in at least 10 clinical sites. With a goal to expand access to primary care particularly in medically underserved areas, the first location to implement an enhanced primary care RN will be the UIndy Center for Health and Wellness – a designated health professions shortage area (HPSA). As additional sites of care are targeted, consideration will be given to 18 of Community’s 60 primary care sites which are HPSA-designated.

“As the healthcare landscape evolves to focus on preventative and primary care, so too must our nursing workforce,” said Community’s Jean Putnam, DNP, MS, RN, CPH, EVP, Chief Nursing Officer. “With this award to Community and UIndy, we are empowered to build the infrastructure needed to ensure career readiness for our emerging nurses and best serve a changing patient population. We look forward to stewarding these grant dollars and working toward a future with enhanced primary care access and services for more Hoosiers, specifically those in underserved communities.” 

The work enabled by the HRSA grant will build upon Community and UIndy’s existing partnership through the Nursing Academy, an accelerated degree program designed to increase the number of registered nurses in Indiana and better prepare students for their transition to professional practice.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UK1HP31713 entitled Nurse, Education, Practice, Quality and Retention-Registered Nurses in Primary Care  for a total award amount of $2,564,978 over a four-year period. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

About Community Health Network Foundation
Community Health Network Foundation is the not-for-profit philanthropic organization of Community Health Network, Central Indiana’s leader in providing convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when patients need them.  Donations support patients, caregivers and Central Indiana communities.  For more information about Community Health Network Foundation, visit eCommunity.com/foundation or call (317) 355-GIVE.

Bridget Cleveland, Marketing and Communications Manager, Community Health Network Foundation
Bridget Cleveland
Marketing and Communications Manager, Community Health Network Foundation