Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) received a $4 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant for nursing education preceptor development.

HRSA made the award under the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention – Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academies (NEPQR-CFPA) program. The purpose of the NEPQR-CFPA program is to increase the nursing workforce by recruiting, training, and producing skilled qualified clinical nursing faculty and nursing preceptors.

“The nation is facing a severe professional nursing shortage,” said CGN Dean Mary Lopez, PhD, RN. “One way for nursing education to help prepare more registered nurses is to create innovative nursing academies that combine existing power and talent that develops, implements, and evaluates a formal curriculum to train clinical nursing faculty and preceptors. With HRSA’s support, we are creating the WesternU Faculty Academy for Region 9 (WU FAR9).”

WU FAR9 is a partnership with the College of Graduate Nursing, HealthImpact, and San Antonio Regional Hospital.

“HealthImpact and the Benner Institute for Teaching and Learning are excited to be part of WU FAR9. HealthImpact’s goal remains dedicated to providing a dynamic, well-prepared nursing workforce. This project furthers the work of Dr. Patricia Benner, an internationally-known nurse theorist, educator, and researcher,” said Garrett Chan, PhD, RN, APRN, FAEN, FPCN, FNAP, FCNS, FAANP, FAAN, President and CEO of HealthImpact, the California nursing workforce and policy center. “Working with the innovative team of the College of Graduate Nursing will advance clinical nurse faculty members’ knowledge and skills to address the nursing shortage.”

Gigi Dhillon, PhD, RN, CJDP, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for San Antonio Regional Hospital, said, “San Antonio Regional Hospital is proudly coming forward to serve as a clinical partner in this important project. San Antonio Regional Hospital looks forward to working with other hospitals and community agencies in our region as this project unfolds.”

CGN Associate Dean Rod Hicks, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, the WU-FAR9 Project Director, said WU FAR9 anticipates reaching each of the 208 nursing programs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region 9 – an area that includes Arizona, Nevada, California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories. The WU-FAR9 project team will invite each nursing program to send a team of four participants (two clinical nurse faculty and two clinical nurses from clinical/community agencies) to attend trainings virtually or in-person. CGN estimates the program could provide about 1,400 training courses for more than 900 distinct participants, at no cost to the schools/college of nursing and/or preceptors.

“The value of this project is the opportunity to bring further development to clinical nurses who serve as preceptors,” Hicks said. “We are adding formal clinical education principles to dedicated nurses who have a wealth of clinical expertise.”

“Now is a great time to be a nurse, as opportunities are unlimited,” Lopez said. “Our vision is that the WU FAR 9 Project will educate more clinical nurses, who in turn, will serve as preceptors, clinical faculty, or clinical educators.”