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School of Nursing

Developing and Sustaining Rural Venues for Teaching Nursing

Washington State's rural areas, such as the Olympic Peninsula, require more health care providers, interdisciplinary approaches to health care delivery, and enhanced access to educational resources. The UIF provides resources to assist the School of Nursing to respond to this need, by developing and sustaining partnerships with health care professionals in Washington's rural areas, beginning on the Olympic Peninsula and eventually including other rural areas, particularly those in western Washington. The overall project goal is to partner with rural communities in a manner that strengthens the University's mission of outreach. Specific aims and approaches include the following:

  1. Establish communication structures between Washington's rural health care professionals and the School of Nursing. This involves establishing an advisory group of clinicians, community leaders, and consumers. The group will be consultative, assisting with identifying the learning needs of the rural care provider community and identifying feasible means of responding to those needs.
  2. Conduct formal and informal assessment of educational needs. This involves surveying health care leaders and care providers, culling information from state and regional health care and population projections. It also involves observation and informal contact.
  3. Offer courses, continuing education classes, and degree-bound programs in rural areas. This involves teaching using distance technology (e.g., two-way videoconference, videotape, web/internet support) and direct teaching methods. It involves working with advisory groups, School of Nursing administration, and funding agencies to develop strategies to fund and offer content and programs.
  4. Develop rural clinical venues and preceptors. This involves working with rural health care providers to profile their practice, identify learning needs, and identify opportunities for student learning. It may involve assisting rural clinical faculty to improve their access to University web databases in support of clinical practice.

The project will strengthen clinical learning opportunities for our students and make that learning accessible to distant learners. Rural health care providers will have improved access to health care information. Nursing faculty will develop enhanced understanding of rural health issues. Most importantly, this effort will enhance our sustained commitment to serving rural settings in Washington by providing a systematic, school-wide approach to offering programs. The UIF offers a unique opportunity to create relationships with communities, ground efforts in a careful assessment of provider and community needs, and create a system in which the entire School and other programs can participate in an ongoing basis.

Project Team: Eleanor Bond, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems (BNHS); Ruth Craven, EdD, RN, FAAN, Professor, BNHS and Assistant Dean, Educational Outreach; C. June Strickland, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, Psychosocial & Community Health (PCH); Kristen Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor, Family and Child Nursing (FCN); Mary Durand Thomas, PhD, RN, CS, Associate Professor, PCH; Judith Kelson, MSW, Project Manager.

Contact: Nancy Woods
Dean, School of Nursing
Allocation: $51,288
Date Funded: December 1999