Growing Nurse Led Care at the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Nursing
More than five years ago, Dean Doreen Harper challenged her faculty to establish a viable faculty practice program to compliment the highly regarded academic and research programs for which the UABSON is well known. Dean Harper knew that clinical practice is a critical component that supports the teaching and research missions of top schools of nursing.
Today, UABSON has evolved its practice mission to a growing presence in under served communities in greater Birmingham, AL as well as developing partnerships with the UAB Health System and Hospital for specialty clinical practices that have direct impact on the bottom line of the hospital. These efforts are led by Cynthia Selleck, PhD, FAAN the Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships. Cindy works closely with Assistant Dean, Maria Shirey. Both Cindy and Maria have successfully competed for HRSA Division of Nursing funding to help support the growth of the UABSON commitment to evolving faculty practice and community impact.
Current initiatives include the use of an interprofessional collaborative team to manage the transition of heart failure patients out of inpatient care and back into the community. This nurse led team helps patients adjust their lifestyles, obtain and manage their medications, and keep healthcare appointments… all geared toward avoiding additional emergency department visits and hospital readmissions. UAB Hospital is a full partner with the school of nursing in evolving this model and even renovated space for this team to house the program and see patients for return visits.
Across town in Bessemer, a cash/credit primary care clinic sees under served, uninsured patients or those whose insurance has such a high co-pay or deductible that the cash price at the clinic is a less expensive alternative than using their health insurance benefit. The clinic is located in a busy industrial area; many of the surrounding neighborhoods are low income. Called the UAB Primary Care Clinic at The
Foundry, the staff, with help from UAB nursing students, offer periodic health screening fairs at the local grocery store. More than 70 people were screened at the last event and many followed up at the clinic for further diagnosis and treatments.
Both sites are actively working to improve health outcomes and provide affordable access to care for people who struggle to get their health needs met. As the UABSON initiatives grow and their practice infrastructure is firmly established, Dean Harper’s vision for clinical practice will become a major component of the safety net for the greater Birmingham area.