Islander Nursing Students to Benefit from 78K Grant for Pandemic-Ready Training Modules

By Olivia Santos | Published: July 31, 2020

Islander Nursing Students to Benefit from 78K Grant for Pandemic-Ready Training Modules

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thanks to a $78,571 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (CONHS) is working to develop new online pandemic-ready curriculum for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students and currently practicing nurses.

The HRSA funds serve as a supplement to the four year grant Nurse Education Practice Quality Retention (NEPQR) – Registered Nurses in Primary Care (RNPC) Training Program grant awarded in 2018 – leading the development of new modules to help understand the need for accessible patient care during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Facilitating the design, creation, and implementation of three culturally competent simulated learning modules is Dr. Julie Fomenko, Assistant Professor of Nursing and Director of the Simulation and Clinical Learning Center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

“Telehealth was an area where we had a true gap in our curriculum,” said Fomenko. “Implementing this grant will allow us to develop training modules on the use of telehealth and how it can impact patient care, our community, healthcare disparities and increase access to providers.”

The supplemental HRSA funding will run through April 2021, allowing for the purchase of state-of-the-art technology to create the telehealth and the development of three COVID-19 educational modules that will serve more than 500 BSN students and 100 currently practicing nurses.

The online modules will focus on the effective provision of telehealth in promoting health and reducing the risk of COVID-19, the enhancement of the readiness of nurses to respond to COVID-19, and the provision of access to telehealth technologies to limit spread of COVID-19.

“Healthcare providers have been concerned with patients not wanting to come in for their check-ups due to fears of the pandemic,” Fomenko said. “Utilizing telehealth technology, providers can continue to see patients and maintain their preventative care to keep them healthy even during a global pandemic. With this grant, we can develop these modules for both our students and our community health nurses, helping bring them up to speed and provide the needed care for patients.”

With much of the project tailored specifically to the needs of the Coastal Bend, the CONHS partnered with the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, the Community Action Corporation of South Texas (CACOST), and the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Education and Human Development to deploy an online needs assessment. The data from the assessment will help identify the strengths and challenges primary care nurses and other healthcare professionals have experienced during the current pandemic, determining where gaps in healthcare education fall, and specifying criteria to be included into the in the learning modules.

“The assessment will help us fine tune our current and future offerings and help to enhance both our students’ and practicing nurses’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in this area of patient care,” Fomenko said.

Currently, Island University BSN students are participating in clinical training with CACOST and the Amistad Community Health Center. Both organizations are utilizing state-of-the-art telehealth technologies in providing healthcare to rural and underserved communities throughout South Texas.

This program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through an award totaling $78,751 with 0% financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.