The Clemson University School of Nursing has received a grant totaling nearly $4 million to help educate nurses on mobile health and ultimately increase the workforce to take health care to patients in rural areas.
The grant, “Go Mobile: Rural, nurse-led expansion and education of diverse workforce practice for underserved populations in Appalachian and Midlands, South Carolina,” was funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
The grant aims to provide educational programs whose graduates will increase the number of registered nurses with diverse backgrounds providing nursing services to diverse, rural and underserved populations in the Appalachian and Midlands regions of the state according to a news release. In addition, the grant is intended to enhance interprofessional partnerships between the Clemson University School of Nursing with two statewide health care systems: Prisma Health and the S.C. Department of Mental Health. Both have mobile vans, and the grant will pay for nurses and nursing faculty to join those mobile van team members to provide care in in Oconee and Orangeburg counties.
The school will admit a diverse cohort of 45 financially supported students for 80 hours of immersion in expanded nurse-led mobile health practice sites.
Common barriers to rural populations seeking medical care are lack of transportation, medical costs or lack of insurance. According to a 2019 report, out of 46 S.C. counties, Oconee County ranked 11th for health outcomes and 14.5% of adults delay medical care due to costs; Orangeburg County ranked 37th for health outcomes and 17.1% of adults delay medical care due to costs.
“Through this project, we’ve designed health service delivery for rural populations that brings health care providers to patients within their own communities and as a result, decreases delays to medical attention,” project director and Clemson nursing professor Kathleen Valentine said in the news release. “In the short term, we will educate nurses to learn this mobile model of care. In the long term, we expect that this model will be shown as effective, and our partners will provide it as an ongoing option within their health care systems eventually expanding it across South Carolina.”
In addition to program education through the usually required courses, these students will study rural populations, social determinants of health, professionalism, COVID and innovative health care technologies, mental health equity, decision making and communication,” the release said. They will also help track access and multiple health outcomes, including COVID and mental health.
“This work is just one of the many ways the School of Nursing, and the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, is meeting the land-grant mission of the University,” Dean Leslie Hossfeld said in the release. “We are proud of the important work the School of Nursing is doing to educate nurses in caring for rural populations.”