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Grant Will Help Clarke Fulfill Need for Advanced Nurses in Rural Areas

By Clarke News  |  July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015:

Clarke University has received a $1.9 million grant that will help the Clarke Doctor of Nursing Practitioner (DNP) program develop advanced practice nurses who are greatly needed to serve in rural and other underserved areas.


Advanced Nursing Education Grant provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Clarke

$686,288 for the first year of the program, $

697,413 for the program’s second year and $514,725 for the third year.

Clarke has both a Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP) and a Nursing Education and Organizational Leadership (NEOL) concentration in its three-year DNP program.

“This grant will be used to expand our teaching resources as our DNP program grows,” said Carmen Wycoff, Clarke assistant professor of nursing. “The grant specifies technology resources, faculty and staff members to be added to the Nursing Department. With these added resources, we will develop the Preceptor Consortium that will help develop preceptors in rural and underserved areas to train advanced practice nurses to provide care based on the specific needs of citizens in those communities.”

The vast majority of Iowa is classified as Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) and many Iowans live in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). While advanced practice nurses could improve access and quality in this area, there are two key barriers present.

First is the need to increase the number of relevant clinical sites with qualified and willing preceptors and the second is the need for more doctorally prepared faculty in nursing programs. This grant proposes to address both of these barriers by forming a Preceptor Consortium that will develop new practice sites and preceptors, provide nursing faculty as mentors to preceptors, enhance opportunities for preceptor, faculty and student communication, and provide high quality education to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.

Three measurable objectives will be accomplished by Clarke over a three-year period beginning summer 2015:

Recruit and train a consortium of 24 preceptors from rural and urban areas to provide on-going mentoring and communication among university faculty and preceptors for the Clarke DNP program.

Engage seven faculty members delivering DNP didactic and clinical courses to share pedagogical skills and teaching expertise with 24 preceptors to advanced student clinical competencies.

Provide technology, equipment and supplies to enrich 12 selected courses where students develop clinical competencies and/or content related to rural and underserved populations.

The project will be led by Wycoff. She will work with seven members of the Clarke graduate nursing faculty including six doctorally prepared faculty members and one MSN-ARNP who serves as clinical coordinator. Two new clinical sites in rural or underserved areas will be added in fall 2015 to a growing list of 118 current sites with about 38% in rural or underserved areas.

Clarke’s DNP program niche is developing advanced practice nurses with experience in navigating healthcare systems for the citizens of rural area. The Clarke Preceptor Consortium model is envisioned as a three-way interconnecting partnership of faculty, preceptors and students working with rural and underserved populations.

The purpose of this project is to help the Clarke Nursing Department develop an innovative model that leverages collective knowledge, technology and tools for educating and preparing doctoral students who will practice in rural and underserved areas, while improving the delivery of evidence-based clinical care in a complex healthcare environment.