Today, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing with their partner, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, became one of five sites nationally to be funded under the Graduate Nurse Demonstration, a national program to educate more advanced practice nurses (APRNs), who are a crucial component to the success of the Affordable Care Act. The research that was instrumental to including the Demonstration in the Affordable Care Act came largely from Penn Nursing researchers.
Increasing the number of advanced practice nurses is an important way to increase the base of primary care providers in the United States. APRNs—nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives—play a pivotal role in providing primary and preventive care to the public. In the past, the cost of clinical training has limited the ability of hospitals and other healthcare providers to accept more APRN students into their settings for clinical training.
Supported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), five hospitals are partnering with accredited schools of nursing and non-hospital community-based care settings as clinical sites for APRN education. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
, the largest clinical site for Penn Nursing, is among the hospitals selected.
Under the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration, CMS will provide the partner hospitals with payments of up to $50 million annually over four years to cover the clinical training of APRNs as part of the demonstration. Payments to the participating hospitals will be linked directly to the number of additional APRNs the hospitals and their partners are able to train as a result of their participation in the demonstration.
“This project is bold and exciting,” said Linda Aiken, PhD, RN
, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research
at Penn Nursing and an architect of the Penn proposal for Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration. “The demonstration provides funding for the first time to clinical sites to offset their costs of clinical education of advanced practice nurses. The funds are also an incentive for schools of nursing to expand graduations from APN programs.”
In the demonstration, half of all clinical training is required to occur in non-hospital settings in the community and will provide APRNs with the primary care, preventive care, transitional care, and the chronic care management skills needed to provide effective and well-coordinated care. Students receiving training funded by the demonstration help fill gaps in non-hospital community-based settings, including in underserved areas.
The program also establishes the Graduate Nurse Education Consortium of Greater Philadelphia which encompasses all nine local schools of nursing that offer advanced practice nursing education and their affiliated health systems and primary care sites throughout Philadelphia. Another important innovation is an agreement between Penn Nursing and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine that APRN students and fourth-year medical students will have preceptorships in pairs to foster interprofessional education.
“The number and caliber of APRNs who will come through the Graduate Nurse Education Demonstration are critical elements to the success of the Affordable Care Act and so to the health of all Americans,” said Penn Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis. “Penn nurses will continue to be ahead of the curve.”
The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the premier research institutions in nursing, producing new knowledge in geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, quality-of-life choices, and other areas. Researchers here consistently receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other private nursing school, and many Master’s degree programs are ranked first in the country.