Through the Rhode Island Action Coalition for the Future of Nursing, URI is co-leading a statewide clinical nurse residency and mentoring program designed to advance the skills of unemployed and underemployed nurses and new nursing graduates. Graduates of the five institutions (URI, RIC, CCRI, Salve Regina, and St. Joseph’s) will have a vehicle to enhance their nursing skills so they can apply for positions that are in demand in Rhode Island. The project will place graduates in practice settings ranging from nursing homes to community clinics, as well as traditional hospital settings across the state. Each nurse accepted into the program will receive a stipend and will practice at three different sites during a residency period lasting up to nine months. The program is expected to accept 20 students this summer and 40 students next year.
Through this coalition, Rhode Island joins Connecticut as one of only two New England states and 20 nationally to receive funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for “The Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action,”a $3 million joint initiative with the AARP. RWJF is committed to providing states with the support they need to build a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce that can address the nation’s most pressing health care challenges—access, quality, and cost.
The coalition also received critical support from a $247,363 Governor’s Workforce Board Partnership Grant to Stepping Up, a health care industry partner of the workforce board. Together with the URI Foundation, Nursing Professor Lynne Dunphy, associate dean of external affairs for the College of Nursing, and co-leader of the state’s coalition, successfully raised additional funds from the Rhode Island Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, and the Routhier Foundation. Other contributors included Rhode Island Center for Nursing Excellence (URI Center), Rhode Island State Nurses Association, Rhode Island Nursing Institute, Lifespan, and Care New England. Each of the state’s nursing programs also contributed to the initiative.