Nursing Home Project Receives $800,000 HRSA Grant to Expand Impact and Provide Gerontology Traineeships to Graduate Nurses

October 15, 2012

"The population of older adults is growing rapidly and we need advanced practice nurses prepared with a strong foundation in systems-thinking to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams and define and influence how geriatric care can best be provided now and in the future"

The Greater Rochester Nursing Home Quality Consortium (GRNHQC), established in 2009 by University of Rochester School of Nursing associate professor of clinical nursing Tobie Olsan, Ph.D., M.P.A., R.N., and School of Medicine and Dentistry assistant professor Suzanne Gillespie, M.D., R.D., and professor Jurgis Karuza, Ph.D., recently received a three-year $800,000 comprehensive geriatric education continuation grant from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Human Services (HRSA). The grant is part of $30.2 million awarded by HRSA to nursing schools across the country to support nursing workforce development.

Overseen by Olsan, the Consortium was established in 2009 with HRSA funding. It is currently made up of 18 regional, predominantly rural, nursing homes working to improve the quality of care they provide to residents through the implementation of Lean Six Sigma performance improvement projects and through continual collaboration and sharing of ideas and best practices. Hands-on education in Lean Six Sigma methodology is provided to interdisciplinary teams within the member nursing homes to help them develop improvement projects in areas like clinical care, care transitions, operations, and workplace safety.

The grant dollars will be used to fund three important objectives, said Olsan.

First, funds will support efforts to increase the number of nursing home members in the Consortium and expand its level of collaboration and impact across the region. Secondly, Olsan said the funds will enable the Consortium’s member homes to collaborate on developing federally mandated Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) programs and to more widely disseminate the materials they develop to non-member homes. A key component of the Affordable Care Act requires that all 16,000 nursing homes across the country have QAPI programs in place to qualify for Medicare funding.

“All of our work over the last three years has given us a vast amount of experience in developing quality improvement programs within nursing home settings,” said Olsan. “Especially for smaller homes significantly challenged by staffing and resource constraints in this area, we believe we can be a valuable support to help them identify the critical components of a program and make this achievable for them.”

Lastly, but of major importance, is that the grant enables the Consortium to offer nurse traineeships (10 part-time, two full-time) to graduate nurses interested in becoming nurse practitioners or in obtaining post-master’s certification in adult/gerontology through the School of Nursing. Selected students will receive full tuition benefits toward their degrees and a stipend while gaining special expertise in performance improvement through involvement in the Consortium’s nursing home’s performance improvement initiatives.

“The population of older adults is growing rapidly and we need advanced practice nurses prepared with a strong foundation in systems-thinking to collaborate on interdisciplinary teams and define and influence how geriatric care can best be provided now and in the future,” said School of Nursing assistant professor Dianne Liebel, Ph.D., R.N., who is coordinating the traineeships. “Tuition support is a tremendous opportunity for a nurse who is really looking to advance their education and training in geriatric care, to build a big-picture perspective of health care delivery systems, and to take part in a hands-on, real-world inter-professional collaboration—working within nursing homes to help them carry out their quality improvement efforts.”  

Ideal applicants for the traineeships include registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees in nursing who are wishing to become certified as an adult/geriatric nurse practitioner. Nurses from rural areas and nurses who do not otherwise have tuition reimbursement support are specifically encouraged to apply. Eligible students could enter the traineeship from multiple programs, including the School of Nursing’s accelerated master’s program for non-nurses, the R.N. to B.S. to M.S. program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program, and the Post-Master’s program.

For more information about the traineeship program and how to apply, click here. Interested applicants may also contact Dianne Liebel. Ph.D., at Diane_Liebel@urmc.rochester.edu or (585) 273-1970.

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Christine Roth
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