The way health care providers are paid is shifting, demanding major changes by providers. Instead of being paid for the number of patients they see, the system is moving toward paying providers based on patient satisfaction, and cost-effectiveness.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing has received a four-year, $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration to help meet some of the new demands with a focus on engaging more registered nurses in the management of patients.

Areas to be focused

Kate Fiandt, Ph.D. UNMC College of Nursing professor and associate dean for transformational practice and partnerships, said the grant would focus on three areas:

1. Updating UNMC undergraduate nursing curriculum to include primary care context and clinical experience;

2. Developing a continuing nursing education program for Nebraska nurses interested in enhancing their primary care skills;

3. Creating an urban and rural nurse-managed care team to provide an innovative and intensive primary care student experience.

The college has partnered with Healthcare Association Nebraska, a primary care organization that provides technical support for federally qualified health centers that work with vulnerable populations.

Nurse-managed care teams will work with two community partners – rural health clinics associated with Franklin County Memorial Hospital in Franklin, Neb, south of Kearney, and North Omaha Area Health, a nurse-led clinic serving the minority community of north Omaha.

Dr. Fiandt, who is a nurse practitioner, said clinics throughout the state have already started to explore hiring registered nurses in this enhanced role.

"The grant provides an excellent opportunity for the college's three missions education, clinical practice, and research to intersect," said Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the UNMC College of Nursing. "We are very excited to be part of this national initiative and to be able to provide our students with an innovative clinical primary care experience."

Registered nurses in primary care practices interested in enhancing their skills, and primary care practices considering training and hiring registered nurses for an enhanced primary care role, can contact Dr. Fiandt at kfiandt@unmc.edu for more information.