Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing to train students in out-patient care at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center are working together on a new federally funded program aimed at helping nursing students broaden their training and enhance veteran care.

The School of Nursing received a four-year, $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) earlier this year to recruit and train nursing students and current registered nurses to strengthen the workforce of primary care registered nurses.

That funding was part of $25.7 million in HRSA grants awarded in July to 42 recipients in rural and underserved areas, according to the agency.

The Case Western Reserve portion will support the nursing school’s Enhancing Nurse Roles In Community Health (ENRICH) program, which focuses on undergraduate and workforce training and education in primary care.

Mary Dolansky photo

Mary Dolansky

“This will be a program that helps our nursing students, both in the curriculum and in a practical sense for the more advanced students selected to work at the VA,” said Mary Dolansky, an associate professor at the nursing school and director of the QSEN (Quality Safety Education for Nurses) Institute.

“But it will also aid the nurses already working there, as well as help our veterans,” she said. “They’ve served us, so we can do the same.”

The program is being designed to not only provide more outpatient training for all nursing students, but also broaden the training of nurses already on staff at the VA.

“We look forward to expanding our robust health-care training program,” said Susan Fuehrer, director and CEO of the VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System. “The VA trains a majority of our nation’s health-care providers, and the nursing students will benefit from our pro-active approach to patient-centered care and quality outcomes.”

The program officially begins in fall 2019, with more than 400 students getting more instruction in first-hand, out-patient care and 10 upper-class students working at the nearby VA facility, Dolansky said.

Dolansky said there has been an increased emphasis on outpatient or ambulatory education for nurses following a 2016 Macy Foundation report, which called for “preparing registered nurses for enhanced roles in primary care.” The report noted that 3.7 million registered nurses comprise the “largest licensed health profession in the nation.”

“Historically, we have not really educated nursing students across the nation in outpatient or ambulatory care, and so they have had a smaller role in care than they might have” Dolansky said. “But that’s changing, and the outcome will be a transformation of nursing education and in nursing practice.”

For more information, contact Mike Scott at

This article was originally published Oct. 2, 2018.