The purpose of this NEPQR RNTP project is to enhance nursing education and practice by increasing the number of baccalaureate nursing students who are trained in acute care settings to address and manage the social determinants of health (SDoH), improve health equity and health literacy, and provide culturally sensitive collaborative care to rural and underserved populations. This project addresses the HRSA mission of improving health outcomes and achieving health equity through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative, high-value programs. In addition, this project is committed to increasing the diversity of the baccalaureate prepared nursing workforce by recruiting and retaining nursing students who more closely reflect the diversity within the state of Alabama. This project aims to strengthen the capacity for basic nurse education and practice as well as the retention of nurses by: 1) expanding enrollment of baccalaureate nursing students, especially those from diverse populations, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities (URMs); 2) providing coordinated, collaborative, culturally sensitive care for underserved populations and high-risk groups; and 3) providing educational and career counseling and mentoring as well as professional development opportunities for the advancement and retention of professional nurses in acute care. The overall goals of this NEPQR RNTP project are: 1. Establish or expand the use of innovative education and training models to strengthen the capacity of undergraduate nursing students ready to practice in acute care settings. 2. Expand the nursing workforce by creating experiential learning opportunities emphasizing advanced nursing skills and care delivery. 3. Provide didactic nursing education geared toward the delivery of culturally sensitive care, addressing SDoH and health equity while developing skills in leadership, communication
, and critical thinking in a technologically innovative and collaborative practice environment. 4. Advance health equity and support for underserved populations by increasing the number of nurses that will be working as integral members of interprofessional teams and use their expanded skills to reduce health disparities. 5. Increase the diversity of the nursing workforce by recruiting students and faculty from diverse populations, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities. 6. Ensure that programmatic activities can continue, can be coordinated effectively, and that grant recipients can implement recovery plans in the event of public health emergencies. This NEPQR RNTP project will allow the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing to incorporate needed didactic content as well as experiential training into the BSN curriculum for all baccalaureate students. It will further allow us to provide important and necessary training for faculty as well as nursing staff in acute care settings, especially those caring for underserved populations. Lastly, this project will allow us to make further enhancements to our recruitment and retention plans for students and faculty from diverse populations, including URMs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. All of these efforts are aimed at preparing nurses and nurse leaders who understand the foundations of inequities and health disparities and have the knowledge and skills to address them. As nursing education and practice are enhanced through this project and nurses become intentional in addressing SDoH, the citizens of Alabama, many of whom live in rural and underserved areas, will be positively impacted. A funding preference is requested as this project will substantially benefit underserved populations. In addition, a funding priority is requested (Priority 2) as the University of Alabama at Birmingham is a public entity, state university.