Grant award will assist ASU and VWHS to fill nursing gap


two people sit at table facing each other man has his back to camera nursing student wears balck shirt with hair up beige curtain in background papers and other desk supplies on desk surface

Photo by Linda Relyea
Nursing student Megan Robins addresses volunteer Dr. Marty Jones in a mock situation. She acted as a supervisor reprimanding an employee. The Nursing Department exposes students to a wide variety of job experiences.

The Adams State University Nursing Program will partner with Valley-Wide Health Systems on Achieving Systemic Impact: A Statewide Primary Care Nursing Collaborative, focusing on increasing the number of Registered Nurses trained in primary care services in underserved and rural areas.

The grant, administered through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Bureau of Health Workforce Division of Nursing and Public Health, will fund a six-partner collaborative to include Valley-Wide, Adams State University, one Denver-based health clinic and two nursing schools. The program will be coordinated through The Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence.

Adams State Director of Nursing Dr. Melissa Milner said the $700,000 HRSA grant will benefit the University in a couple of ways, including helping fund a faculty position. "Five of our students each year, 20 students over 4 years, will participate in the specialty placements and will receive a monetary award once they have completed the 150 clinical hours in primary settings," Milner said. The award is set at $5000 to $7000 per student per year.

In addition, the grant requires Valley-Wide Health to hire BSN prepared nurses, which can be preceptors for Adams State students. "This will create additional clinical placements for us as well as increased job placement for our graduates here in the Valley," Milner added.

"Nursing school graduates in large part do not have adequate experience or training in population health or in a primary care setting," said Denise Trujillo, Ph.D., Adams State Class of '07 and Valley-Wide's Director of Nursing.

Fortunately, the partnership between Valley-Wide and Adams State University will work to address these limitations in nursing education delivery. "We are excited to see the impact this focus can have," Trujillo added.

The collaborative project is currently funded over the next four years. Its inaugural year will commence in the fall of 2018.