An academic and free clinic partnership to develop a sustainable rural training and clinical practice site for the education of undergraduate and advanced practice nurses

Audrey E. Snyder, Gwyneth Milbrath, Teresa Gardner, Paula Meade, Elizabeth L. McGarvey


The purpose of this project was: 1) to expand clinical training experiences for undergraduate, graduate and advanced practice nursing students at a rural free clinic, 2) to test the feasibility of developing a model training and practice internship for undergraduate, graduate and advanced-practice nurses as part of a Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)-funded academic-community partnership to encourage nurses to consider future employment in rural Appalachia and 3) to determine the successes and challenges of this endeavor. This paper reports the successes and challenges of this partnership. Data were collected from nursing students attending the University of Virginia through self-reported student information forms. A total of 145 students (56 advanced practice, 19 graduate and 70 undergraduate nursing students) successfully received scheduled clinical training experiences at three rural clinic sites operated by the Health Wagon (HW), a free clinic in rural Southwest Virginia.  It is feasible to develop and implement a long distance academic and community-based partnership to provide real life experiences for undergraduate, graduate and advance practice nurses, including nurse practitioners, in rural settings.  Success depends on the commitment of both the academic and free clinic staff to the program, excellent on-site clinical supervision of students, and a source of revenue to cover both on-site and travel related expenses for students and preceptors.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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