Grant Opens Doors for New Opportunities for School of Nursing

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The College of Health and Human Services’ School of Nursing will now be able to expand their clinical outreach services to underserved areas, thanks to grants by the Song-Brown Program. In just a six month period alone, Fresno State has received over $600,000 in grant funding by this program, which is commissioned by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development toprovide quality health care in underserved areas.

Recently, Fresno State edged out 23 other nursing schools in the state to receive a $319,500 award of the $1.7 million allocated by the Song-Brown Program. The first grant of $216,000 will go towards training nine additional students in the undergraduate nursing program and to increase the number of faculty within the School.

“The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report indicates the need to have 80% of registered nurses obtain a bachelor of science (BSN) degree by 2020. Fresno State is helping to reach this goal by educating nine additional nurses at the BSN level with this grant money,” said Pilar De La Cruz-Reyes, director of the Central California Center for Excellence in Nursing. “Patients in hospitals are much sicker today than in the past with shorter lengths of stay which requires nurses to utilize greater critical thinking and assessment skills. Receiving these grants from the Song-Brown Program will allow us to admit more students and expand new programs within the School of Nursing.”

The second grant of $103,500 will go toward the Community Health Mobile Unit – an RV that travels to areas that do not have readily available access to health services. Two exam rooms will be available in the mobile unit, which will allow rural communities free access to health education, immunizations, screenings and more.

Dr. Kathi Rindahl, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, spearheaded this program and said providing onsite mobile services will fill a much needed void in health care access to the migrant community and provide valuable lessons to students. “This will place students in the perfect position to immerse themselves and be exposed to rural medicine. There are currently no nurses to serve the migrant community, but the need is huge.”

The unit, which will serve all populations in rural communities, is set to launch in September.

In addition to these recent grants, the Song-Brown Program also awarded nearly $300,000 to Fresno State back in January of 2014. Of that amount, $148,924 will go toward a new training clinic for community health and nurse practitioner students.

Nestled in the back end of the Spirit of Woman facility is the refurbished bungalow that will soon house the new School of Nursing clinical site. Established in 1997, Spirit of Woman is a nonprofit facility that provides substance-abuse treatment programs for women who are pregnant or parenting. They currently serve40-55 women and 25 children daily.

Meanwhile, Fresno State graduates about120BSN students annually. Of that number, about 50 nursing students per semester are expected to work in the clinic, which is fully funded through the grants provided by the Song-Brown Program.

Along with onsite health services to the residents of Spirit of Woman, additional services will be provided by students in other academic fields. This inter-professional practice model will incorporate students of social work, physical therapy, nutrition and more.

Audrey Riley, executive director of Spirit of Woman, said this ongoing collaboration with Fresno State is a great honor and help to their organization. “We are able to offer so much more to our residents, many of whom have health and substance abuse issues. Fresno State really meets their needs with help from the nursing students who will monitor the health of the residents and provide preventative care; and the students in the social work program who provide much needed counseling to our high risk residents. Having a partnership with Fresno State is such a great benefit for us.”

The clinic is scheduled to open in August. For more information regarding these clinics, please contact Dr. Rindahl at krindahl@csufresno.edu.

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