Expanding role of registered nurses in primary care

Nurses at South Dakota State University are helping rural clinics more fully utilize register nurses in primary care and have expand the nursing curriculum to better prepare students to deliver that care. She leads the research team working on Impacting Models of Practice and Clinical Training for Registered Nurses and Students, known as IMPACT-RNS.

The four-year U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration fund project seeks to address the shortage of health-care professionals in rural and underserved areas by preparing nursing students; also practicing RNs to function in expanded roles in a primary care setting. In addition, the students and RNs will learn their role in dealing with opioid epidemic; so including patient assessment, intervention and treatment.

Nurses In Primary Care

Primary care is typically the first contact patients experiencing symptoms; which have with a health care provider, usually a doctor, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. This care can involve diagnosis and treatment, patient education and/or counseling and chronic disease management.

The research team is working with 13 clinical partners in South Dakota and Minnesota; hence connecting with administrators and key people to explain what they are trying to do. Site leaders for the project are Assistant Deans Leann Horsley and Linda Burdette, Director of Academic Nursing Education Programs Christina Plemmons; also Assistant Professor of Nursing Alham Abuatiq.

This fall, SDSU nursing students will receive expand instruction; which about rural nursing; so the role of the RN in primary care and the opioid epidemic. In addition to developing the curriculum; so the research team is rolling out simulations specifically related to primary care and opioid addiction.

The rural nursing

Furthermore, the first cohort of five senior nursing students will begin their two-semester primary care clinical experiences this fall. “This is the first longitudinal experience where students are in a clinical setting for more than a semester and the first dedicated primary care experience, Mennenga said. The SDSU team develop a brochure; also a video to promote the primary care clinical to seniors in the Brookings and Aberdeen nursing programs.

As part of the project, the research team is developing four continuing education modules relate to rural nursing, the RN role in primary care and the opioid epidemic. They are working on finalizing drafts of each module and will then send them out for review, Mennenga said. She anticipates the modules will be available to SDSU faculty members and the RN preceptors at the clinical sites this fall. The long-term goal is to have these professional development modules available online.

“Using year one for capacity building was a wise decision. It takes a lot of devote time to get faculty up to speed on the project and how it will impact the curriculum and to work individually with our first five clinical practice partners,” Mennenga said. “We have accomplished what we set out to do and are well positioned as we move into year two.”