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New Education Model Addresses Demand for Skilled Home Health Nurses

As the U.S. population ages and health care demands change, nurses can play a key role in community health by working both in and outside hospitals. This is why Chamberlain University is taking an innovative approach to its education model and offering specialty-focused experiences so future nurses can practice anywhere—and thrive.

Chamberlain’s Practice Ready. Specialty Focused.™ Nurse Education Model—funded by the Reimagining Nursing Initiative—introduces students to specific specialties within nursing as a way for students to explore that specialty and determine if it is a right fit for their career goals. Earlier this year, Chamberlain’s nursing students were offered an online course with clinical experience in perioperative care. Now they are expanding to home health.

Chamberlain is partnering with BrightStar Care, a leading nationwide home care and medical staffing franchise, to develop “Introduction to Continuing Health.” This course, like perioperative care, will be offered at no additional cost to Chamberlain nursing students to complement the existing generalist approach. Chamberlain hopes this approach will reduce the number of new nurses who leave the profession because they are unprepared for the challenges of specialty care.

“Nurses are vital contributors to the health and well-being of our communities and providing nursing students broader access and exposure to home health and other specialties will strengthen the pipeline of prepared nurses in critical need areas that they enjoy,” said Karen Cox, PhD, RN, FACHE, FAAN, president, Chamberlain University. “As we build upon the momentum of the Practice Ready. Specialty Focused.TM model, our clinical partnership with BrightStar Care allows us to make a larger impact on home health as the demand continues to grow exponentially.”

Empowering Nursing Students to Find the Right Fit

Finding the right specialty fit should happen while nurses are still students. This approach affords future nurses the time to develop an intimate understanding of the specialty and their interests while also connecting them with potential employers.

Students who complete and pass the home health course have the option to spend 96 hours of clinical time at BrightStar Care and other home health partners. Students will gain knowledge about the specialty based on the fundamentals of a generalist education, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials, and Quality and Safety Education for Nurses competencies.

“With our focus on home health, we are delighted to work with Chamberlain on this new nursing education program so we can increase the number of qualified home health care nurses who practice evidence-based care,” said Founder and CEO of BrightStar Care, Shelly Sun. “We believe strongly in Chamberlain’s pilot to create a successful pathway for nursing students to learn this specialty and make an impact on the future of nursing. As BrightStar Care leads the home care market with network-wide Joint Commission accreditation and nurse-led care, this partnership was the perfect fit.”

Chamberlain’s leadership in expanding specialty preparation for new nurses is particularly important given its diverse student population—58 percent of pre-licensure graduates come from underrepresented minorities. This program will not only help address the nursing shortage seen in home health, but patients will have access to care from people who look like them. Out of the 101 students who graduated from the initial perioperative cohort—68 percent were from underrepresented minorities.

Reimagining the future of nursing education

Looking ahead to the future of education, Chamberlain will create a publicly available playbook by 2025 documenting the model, sharing the courses developed, and sharing the impact on the nurses who participated in it to support and encourage other nursing schools to replicate the approach.

“The Reimagining Nursing Initiative provides the solid investments nurses need to transform the education and practice of nursing,” said American Nurses Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge. “Nurses are a natural catalytic force for accelerating the evolution of our health system because they have an unmatched perspective on prevention, wellness, and delivery of healthcare services.”

Is this your first time reading about the Reimagining Initiative? Click here to learn all about the Initiative, its 10 projects, and how the Initiative is transforming healthcare by investing in bold ideas developed and led by nurses.


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