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Improving Primary Care in Washington State through Advanced Nursing Education

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr)
Advanced Education Nursing Traineeship (AENT)
7/1/2014 – 6/30/2016


The Washington State University College of Nursing (WSU) Advanced Nursing Education Traineeship Program will expand our ability to prepare graduate nurses for careers as Family Nurse Practitioners qualified to provide primary care to the citizens of Washington State. Support is sought to help meet the financial needs of graduate nurse practitioner students for tuition, fees, and books. The specific goals of this grant are to: 1) Increase enrollment of students from underrepresented communities (veterans, rural-dwelling Hispanic, and Native American/American Indians) through enhanced recruitment efforts and by offering financial support to allow them to remain in their home communities while attending graduate school; and 2) Enhance and improve existing retention plans for graduate students by identifying and implementing strategies to ensure the success of students from targeted populations 3) Monitor the success of the project by engaging with alumni at regular intervals, providing ongoing mentorship and continuing education to support lifelong learning.

In preparation for this project, the director has identified and secured the commitment of six current CON faculty members who will serve as recruiters, mentors, and alumni points-of-contact with students who receive traineeship support. The faculty group includes two members each who have strong experience, practice, and research ties to each of the targeted populations (veterans, Hispanics, and Native American/American Indians). These program champions will identify Registered Nurses living and working in rural health professional shortage areas and who are interested in becoming primary care providers. They will assist them with every aspect of the application and matriculation process. Plans are already under development to ensure the academic and practice success of candidates selected to receive traineeship funds through strong mentor relationships with the college and in the students’ home communities. Graduates who receive traineeship support will be educationally and experientially qualified for certification and licensure immediately upon graduation, enabling them to enter the workforce as primary care providers. An alumni follow-up program will monitor the success of graduates as they enter and gain experience as Family Nurse Practitioners, providing mentorship, support, and continuing education to these novice primary care providers. Through this program, Washington State Universities will expand its capacity for and expertise in recruitment, retention, and alumni relationships with veterans, Hispanics, and Native Americans/American Indians, improving the access of the citizens of rural Washington to local primary care provided by individuals with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Primary Investigator

Cindy Fitzgerald
Cindy Fitzgerald, PhD