Mary Schuler receives AHEC Innovations Grant

Mary Schuler, RN, EdD, CNE, AHEC nursing liaison and assistant professor at the School of Nursing, was awarded a $50,000 grant from the NC AHEC Innovation Fund to develop an online program to educate RNs on interprofessional roles in primary care settings.

Generally, nursing and allied health programs do not provide a comprehensive education on interprofessional roles in primary care; these roles are instead presented in advanced or graduate programs. However, as health care continues to change its focus from disease to health promotion, it is important to highlight the role of nurses and all health care professionals in primary care so that they can work more effectively in that setting. To help fulfill this educational need, Dr. Schuler, will initially develop an online curriculum to educate RNs to work in primary care settings.

Once complete, UNC School of Nursing and AHEC would collaboratively administer the online coursework through the UNC Friday Center, making use of a very successful partnership that built and has offered the North Carolina AHEC RN Refresher Program since 1990. The RN Refresher Program, which is directed by Dr. Schuler, provides registered nurses who have been out of the workforce an opportunity to update their clinical knowledge and skills and return to clinical practice in less than a year.

The AHEC Innovation Fund is a new funding mechanism designed to promote innovation in UNC Chapel Hill health affairs curricula and to support the changing health care needs of the state of North Carolina through AHEC. It is supporting UNC Chapel Hill health affairs faculty in developing, piloting, evaluating, and disseminating new models of health profession education.