New $2.8M Grant to
Enhance Ambulatory Care
Nursing Education

Dec 7, 2018

The UW School of Nursing, Kaiser Permanente
and Washington AHEC are partnering to
meet Primary Care education needs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded the University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing funding to support a Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention (NEPQR) program, “Registered Nurses in Primary Care Training”. The purpose of the four-year training program is to recruit and train nursing students and current registered nurses (RNs) to practice to the full scope of their license in community-based ambulatory care teams to increase access to care, with an emphasis on chronic disease prevention and control, including mental health and substance use conditions. One key component of the program is to establish an academic-practice partnership (a formal and strategic relationship between a nursing school and clinical practice setting) to advance mutual interest related to nursing practice, education and research. The UW School of Nursing established a formal partnership with Kaiser Permanente Washington (KP-WA), and will enhance collaboration with Washington Area Health Education Centers (WA-AHEC). Through these partnerships, UW School of Nursing, KP-WA and WA-AHEC will strategize to implement the following activities:

  1. Implement a system for recruitment of ambulatory care-oriented nursing students, committed to practicing in community-based care settings to improve access in medically underserved communities;
  2. Provide clinical training experiences for nursing students in community-based ambulatory care, with an emphasis on chronic disease management, including mental health and substance use conditions;
  3. Deliver continuing professional development in ambulatory care for practicing RNs, ambulatory care teams, and clinical preceptors;
  4. Enhance existing BSN curricula to integrate ambulatory care, care coordination, population health, and interprofessional education (IPE);
  5. Identify a partnership liaison as a formal facilitator between academia and clinical partners.

Over the next four years, the program operations team, led by principal investigator (PI) Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, FAAN, will work with UW School of Nursing Curriculum Committee, KP-WA, and WA-AHEC to increase the number of ambulatory care nurses working in rural and medically underserved areas; integrate more ambulatory care content into nursing education programs and provide practicing RNs with the tools to lead interprofessional teams in care coordination and care management, chronic disease prevention and management, population health, and quality improvement initiatives. The operations team will also ensure that the roll-out of new curriculum is accompanied by robust well-mentored clinical practicum experiences and is relevant to practice needs in rural and medically underserved communities.

Of particular importance to this program is partnering with clinical agencies to ensure that students receive excellent clinical mentorship. While such an arrangement can pose challenges for clinical agencies, this funding program is timely in that it provides opportunity for the UW School of Nursing to partner with KP-WA, a major community health consortium that is in the process of strengthening RN practice in ambulatory care teams. Together they will collaborate to implement and evaluate a new program for creating and sustaining ambulatory care education and training for BSN students and RNs in practice. The UW School of Nursing will also expand an existing collaboration with the AHEC for Western Washington (AHEC-WW) to implement and evaluate summer quarter placements in remote rural areas of WA State for 20 days of immersive clinical practica. The partnerships, in turn, will ensure that the UW curriculum is relevant to practice needs so that RNs may practice at the full scope of their license in community-based ambulatory care teams.

In addition to enhancing curricula for BSN/ABSN students and developing clinical sites for ambulatory care training experiences, the operations team will develop, implement, and evaluate continuing professional education activities and tools including an Ambulatory Care Toolkit and a Project ECHO [Extension of Community Health Outcomes]) in ambulatory care. The Project ECHO will be for faculty, preceptors, and practicing RNs related to precepting nursing students, primary care nursing practice, chronic disease prevention and control (to include MH and substance-use conditions), and IPCP.

On October 10, 2018, the grant kicked off with an all-day retreat for 32 grant team members from the UW, KP-WA and AHECWW, UW School of Nursing BSN faculty, and invited guests from Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, King County Public Health and Seattle Pacific University. Quarterly advisory team meetings are planned as follow up throughout the four year grant.

For more information about the grant, please contact Project Manager, Nicole Summerside at

About the University of Washington School of Nursing
The UW School of Nursing is one of the leading nursing programs in the United States. It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Science in Nursing (Clinical Informatics & Patient-Centered Tech), Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science, and Doctor of Nursing Practice in 11 specialties. For more information, visit

About Kaiser Permanente Washington
In 2017, Kaiser Permanente acquired Group Health Cooperative and its subsidiaries, which have been caring for members in Washington since 1947. Kaiser Permanente Washington provides high-quality, affordable health care services to more than 710,170 members and supports the health of communities in Northwest Washington, Central Washington, Eastern Washington, the Coastal and Olympic region, and Puget Sound. For more information, visit

About Area Health Education Center for Western Washington (AHECWW)
The federal AHEC program was developed by Congress in 1971 to recruit, train and retain a health professions workforce committed to improving core public health for rural and underserved urban communities. With dual funding from the University of Washington (UW) and the Washington state Department of Health (DOH), the AHEC for Western Washington is working to increase diversity and distribution among health professionals, enhance health care quality, and improve health care delivery. For more information, visit