July 1, 2022By Lance Baily

Nurse Education Grant’s Help Fund New Ideas, Healthcare Simulation Solutions

The fact that technology is helping to revolutionize medicine is clear, yet how these advances are supported financially has not always been as clear. To help equip nurses with skills and resources to meet the growing healthcare needs of the future, the American Nurses Foundation Reimagining Nursing Initiative (RN Initiative) announced a project that will help grant $14 million over three years to pilot programs in 21 states. While the RN Initiative is promoting new ideas and testing solutions, the program is not the only means by which grants within the healthcare simulation space can be acquired. This HealthySimulation.com article will discuss how the RN Initiative is helping initiatives across the United States while highlighting other grant opportunities in existence.

According to the American Nurses Foundation, the RN Initiative was truly designed to help nurses realize their full potential by ”giving them the tools, knowledge, and power to improve healthcare for generations to come.” To fulfill this mission, the initiative focuses on three priority areas for innovation that present unique opportunities for large-scale, replicable change. These areas are said to be what help enable nurses with cutting-edge knowledge, tools, environments, and systems to deliver equitable and exemplary care to their patients. They include:

  • Practice-Ready Nurse Graduates pilots will prepare newly graduated nurses to immediately succeed in and contribute to a variety of settings where patients need care
  • Technology-Enabled Nursing Practice pilots will support the design and implementation of technology-based tactics and tools that enhance the practice of nursing.
  • Direct-Reimbursement Nursing Model pilots will expand nursing practice and elevate the value of nursing through direct reimbursement for nursing care delivery, management, and coordination outcomes.

“Nurses know the challenges they face; it’s time to equip them to reimagine a health care system that is better for all of us,” said Kate Judge, Executive Director of the American Nurses Foundation.

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One of the programs awarded this grant was a collaboration of The Ohio State University Colleges of Nursing and Engineering to use extended reality (XR), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to revolutionize nursing education. The funds will work to support “Disrupting Nursing Education with XR, AI, and ML,” which is a project that seeks to use cutting-edge technology to better prepare nursing graduates for high-stakes, real-world situations.

Project leaders explain that, through technology-enabled learning tools deployed across the university’s core curriculum, The Ohio State College of Nursing (CON) and College of Engineering team plans to “build students’ competencies that can be validated in clinical experience.” They believe that both extended realities can provide tailored support based on each student’s needs and that the artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) tool can address critical points in patient care. These points are often when decisive nurse interventions make life-or-death differences (i.e. failure to rescue).

The tool is meant to present students with increasingly difficult scenarios, allowing learners to gain competence in a low-stakes environment. The hope is that the integration of these technologies will transform the curriculum and faculty pedagogy, creating an engaging, effective, and future-focused learning experience.

“The era of learning freedom is before us. We seek to explore the hybrid nature of digital and physical life that develops from the immersive digital ecosystem. We imagine nursing education as a place where students can learn in the physical world, the digital world, or a hybrid of the two with people from across the globe,” said Michael Ackerman, Ph.D., RN, FCCM, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, professor of Clinical Nursing, director of the Center of Healthcare Innovation and Leadership at the Ohio State CON, and the College of Nursing’s lead on this initiative.

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The College of Nursing/College of Engineering team is expected to report results, deliver evidence demonstrating the project’s impact and provide resources to help scale the innovation within the profession by 2025.

Examples of Other Reimagining Nursing Pilot Projects

Big 10 Practice-Ready Nursing Initiative: Immersive virtual reality simulation in tandem with debriefing and clinical preceptorship prepares students to care for multiple, complex patients.

Competency-Based Education for Practice-Ready Nurses: This project accelerates the movement to a new model of nursing education by supporting innovative approaches to competency development and skills assessment for nurses.

CONCERN Implementation Toolkit: Consolidating nurse knowledge, perception, and expertise to create predictive tools that provide early warnings about deteriorating patient health.

Driving Nursing Outcomes through Robotics: ChristianaCare is piloting collaborative robots (cobots) as an innovative, strategic approach to assist inpatient nurses and staff in their daily work.

Reducing Barriers to NP Value-Based Care: Reducing barriers to ensure nurse practitioner-owned practices can participate and thrive as US health care shifts to value-based payment structures.

Additional Healthcare Simulation Grant Opportunities

SAEMF/Simulation Academy Novice Research Grant: The goal of the SAEMF/Simulation Academy Novice Research Grant is to promote junior and new investigators in simulation-based research and scholarship. With this goal in mind, we welcome a broad range of projects that increase the body of knowledge in simulation-based endeavors, educational innovations, and applications within different facets of emergency medical care, training, and systems research, such as medical education, clinical operations, and patient safety. The objective is to provide seed funding to support experiential training and career development for investigators in emergency medicine who have shown promise in simulation-based scholarship.

Debra Spunt Research Grant: The INACSL Debra Spunt Research Grants are designed to fund research that advances the science of simulation in healthcare and is related to at least one of the INACSL research priorities. Rigorously designed research proposals, both qualitative and quantitative are welcome.

Debra L. Spunt, DNP, RN, FAAN, was a pioneer in clinical simulation in nursing, co-founder of INACSL and served as its first president. She worked as an assistant professor and director of the clinical simulation labs at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She died of cancer at age 50 in 2007, and the Debra Spunt Research Grant was created in her honor.

Josiah Jr. Macy Foundation Grants: This foundation invests in educational projects that improve health by advancing the education and training of future health professionals through the President’s Grants and Board Grants. President’s Grants can be given at any time, and are evaluated by an internal team and awarded by the foundation’s president. Board Grants are generally one to three years in duration with a budget target of no more than $100K annually, which includes indirect costs at no more than 10%.

The ZOLL Foundation Grants: The ZOLL Foundation awards research grants to early research in new therapies or techniques, and reviews of data and information to better understand practices in the field of resuscitation and acute critical care. The foundation also awards grants to educational activities combined with measurement to enhance care, and promising start-up projects (whose initial results may allow researchers to seek additional funding from other sources, allowing for continued research that will require more extensive trials or scale).

AHRQ Simulation Research Grants: Since 2006, AHRQ has been funding simulation research as part of its patient safety mission. This research has expanded the knowledge about how to use simulation to make care safer in a variety of clinical settings. Some examples of this work include inserting ultrasound-guided central venous catheters, diagnosing skin cancer, identifying sepsis, and measuring laparoscopic skills in surgeons.

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