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October 12, 2023 | Katelyn Keenehan

Federal award propels nursing simulation program at UTC

The grant will help nurses at UTC cater to rural, underserved, uninsured, and medically vulnerable populations.

The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (UTC) landed a three-year $1.4 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase training opportunities for nurses in rural populations. According to a press release by UTC, landing the award was a big deal. It is the first grant funding received for the UTC undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program in many years.

UTC said the grant will fund a project titled “AHEAD-RN,” which is an acronym for Addressing Health Equity, Access, and Diversity through Nursing.  UTC and clinical partners will use innovative academic-practice partnerships to prepare undergraduate students through clinical and simulation experiences that mimic real-life scenarios.

“The premise of this grant is to have practice-ready graduates,” said Dr. Brooke Epperson, who applied for the grant. Her staff biography said she has three degrees from UTC and has been on the faculty since 2016.

“We were thinking of how can we step up our game from a simulation perspective to be able to meet the needs of our students and to be able to care for individuals with certain behavioral health issues, end of life, palliative, the aging population and homelessness,” Epperson said.

According to UTC, the BSN program typically has 200 students in any given semester. Through the duration of the grant, about 400 students will benefit from the simulation technology.

“Every student will be exposed to it, and we’re also looking at creating a homeless simulation. So again, providing care in different areas the students aren’t necessarily in regularly and ensuring that everybody has that experience and feels confident in the material,” Epperson said in the UTC press release.

To learn more about opportunities available to students at UTC, click here.

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