Background: Healthcare systems seeking to achieve healthcare quality need registered nurses prepared to practice at the top of their license. For nursing to be a leader in healthcare transformation influencing outcomes and quality, nursing education must be reconceptualized with a focus on primary care competencies. As a result of the rapidly changing managed care arena, it is essential for nursing students to be well informed regarding the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to effectively deliver population health, primary care, care coordination, disease prevention, and disease management services across the care continuum.
Purpose: In response to these needs, the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) called for integration of primary care competencies into pre-licensure education proposals, funded by the FY 2018 Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Registered Nurses in Primary Care (NEPQR - RNPC) program. To support the idea of reconceptualizing point of care, a new post-baccalaureate curriculum focused on interprofessional community based primary care was developed emphasizing an integrated framework for healthcare delivery.
Description: The newly developed curriculum represents a paradigm shift from a focus on acute care to a focus on interprofessional primary care. This is reflected in didactic, clinical, and simulation learning experiences. The program has five key features: 1) an integrated framework involving primary care coordination of physical and behavioral health care at community levels and across the lifespan; 2) an accelerated post-baccalaureate curriculum delivered in 4 semesters; 3) students earn 9 semester credit hours of graduate courses; 4) aesthetic knowing infused via the integration of the arts to develop and enhance observation skills, creative and critical thinking, comfort with ambiguity, communication and collaboration skills, and empathy; and 5) leveraging technology to promote active learning in the classroom while also decreasing the carbon footprint by providing iPads to program faculty and students.
Projected outcomes: This creative and innovative curricular approach will build essential primary care competencies and digital fluency in new baccalaureate graduates while incorporating aesthetic knowing aimed at enhancing observation, empathy, competence, resilience, and comfort with ambiguity knowledge and skills. It is projected that changing the paradigm focus from acute care to primary care in pre-licensure programs will have the overall impact of increasing access to care with an emphasis on biobehavioral disease prevention and care management.