More than twice as many underserved patients are getting primary care — and with a week’s wait time instead of a month — as a result of a flourishing year-long partnership between Jacksonville University’s Keigwin School of Nursing and the local nonprofit Community Health Outreach.
A $50,000 grant from the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which has been renewed for the coming year, has allowed 10 JU Nursing students to get hands-on experience helping patients at the CHO clinic on the Westside, led by their mentor and guiding practitioner, JU Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Erica Kines.
In addition to the expansion in service and lowering of wait times, the clinic is also now able to offer urgent care, which cuts the amount of emergency department visits and leads to a substantial monetary savings for local hospitals, Dr. Kines said.
“The grant not only allows for increased access to healthcare in the community for the uninsured, homeless and medically underserved, but also provides a clinical site and preceptor (onsite practitioner and teacher) for graduate students within the various nurse practitioner programs the Keigwin School of Nursing offers,” she added.
Nurse preceptors help bridge the gap between nursing school and the hospital, and are increasingly vital in aiding health care organizations. Effective preceptors can help with reduced nurse turnover and increased patient safety, research shows.
In the preceptor-student nurse relationship, a one-on-one bond is formed, as the duo work together, with the student observing the preceptor in action and then performing duties under his or her watchful eye.
By the end of this semester, Dr. Kines will have precepted 10 nurse practitioner students in various phases of their curriculum, for a cumulative total of about 565 hours.
“Our faculty members plan to continue mentoring new nurse practitioners for clinical practice while further positively affecting the community,” she said.
The CHO is a non-profit, community-based organization aligned with the We Care Jacksonville volunteer coalition, which provides uninsured Duval county residents access to free quality healthcare. Working with Keigwin School of Nursing leaders in JU’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, the grant was secured in November 2016, allowing a full-time Nursing professor to devote half of their time at the CHO over a one-year timeframe.