The AHEC Nursing Office of the School of Nursing coordinates efforts on behalf of the School to fulfill its NC Area Health Education Centers Program (AHEC) partnership with the State. This partnership, between the North Carolina University’s Health Sciences Centers and local communities, provides health professions’ education and training in communities to meet the primary healthcare needs of North Carolinians.
Nine regional NC AHECs comprise the North Carolina AHEC system and are supported primarily by state and local funds. Each NC AHEC Program (Mountain, Northwest, Charlotte, Greensboro, Southern Regional, Wake, Area L, Eastern, and Coastal) is staffed by an interdisciplinary faculty, including one or more nursing educators. Since the program’s beginning in 1972, nursing education and clinical training have been an integral part of its mission to expose nurses to new technology and to innovative methods and models of professional nursing practice.
The School of Nursing’s involvement with AHEC nursing occurs in several ways. The School provides faculty to the NC AHEC Program to teach continuing education programs around the state, averaging 50-60 programs each year. The School also provides technical assistance, which usually takes the form of a faculty member providing information or training to health professionals in their own setting. The School of Nursing works collaboratively with the NC AHECs to provide off-campus degree programs for working nurses. The NC AHEC Program also supports graduate students’ housing for clinical experiences, according to standard AHEC travel reimbursement policies and provides reimbursement to preceptors of nurse practitioner students. The NC AHEC Program and its Offices of Regional Primary Care Education (ORPCE) work cooperatively with UNC-CH in identifying, developing and recognizing nurse preceptors. Statewide coordination of a self-paced RN refresher program is also provided by the UNC-CH School of Nursing NC AHEC Program office.