On November 19, Frontier Nursing University (FNU), along with healthcare providers across the country, will come together to celebrate National Rural Health Day (NRHD). NRHD gives the healthcare community a chance to celebrate the community-minded, “can do” spirit that prevails in rural America while bringing light to the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face and showcasing the dedicated work of rural healthcare providers.
In previous years, FNU had celebrated with a weekend of virtual events educating others on the importance of rural health and spreading best practices to other healthcare providers. Last year’s CE session hosted by Dean of Nursing, Dr. Slager, can still be viewed here through the end of the year. With the ongoing pandemic this year, FNU had to make the difficult choice to allocate efforts elsewhere and instead continued to focus on the mission they share with NRHD of bringing quality care to rural communities.
Throughout the year, FNU students, faculty and alumni have been out on the frontlines fighting COVID-19 in rural communities. Some examples of FNU frontliners include Jamie Westlund, serving in rural Hawaii amidst a PPE shortage, Korah Schwab extending COVID-19 care to rural immigrant communities in N. C., and Kevin Scalf, PMHNP-BC, who has been increasing mental health care for citizens of rural Eastern Ky. It has been a challenging year, but even a pandemic can’t stop FNU from extending care to underserved communities.
Those interested in joining FNU to further rural community outreach can take NRHD’s Power of Rural Pledge and commit to advocating for rural communities in four ways throughout the coming year.
Seek out new relationships that will bring additional resources into the rural healthcare fold. Once these relationships are established, it becomes easier to share ideas, resources and information as supporters work together in the common interest of rural health and wellness.
Use all available channels and mediums to spread the word about the Power of Rural. Stay connected with the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) throughout the year and then follow, like, forward, post, and pin stories, ideas, facts, and opportunities to further build partnerships with those working to make a difference in rural healthcare.
Share facts and information about the need to improve access and outcomes in rural communities with those who influence policy and resource allocation. Then, inform those entering the healthcare workforce about the many fulfilling opportunities available in rural communities.
Engage partners from non-healthcare industries to help create additional solutions to prevailing challenges by developing ideas, programs, and models that continue to transform and positively impact rural healthcare. Together we can explore and implement new approaches to reach these at-risk rural populations.
Although FNU’s primary focus is education, the university works hard each day to follow all four portions of the Power of Rural Pledge. FNU collaborates with existing rural nurse practitioners by engaging them as preceptors for their students and growing the network of nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives throughout rural America. A wide variety of FNU’s communications are also focused on spreading awareness about the importance of rural healthcare. Follow FNU on Facebook, Twitter, or visit their blog to keep up to date on rural health initiatives. Additionally, FNU is consistently updating methods and curriculum to best serve rural communities. One part of every Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student’s journey includes collaborating with their clinical site to lead a rapid cycle quality improvement project. These projects work to improve a specific area of the student’s clinical site to better care for the community they serve.
Individuals interested in working alongside FNU to advocate for NRHD can visit the NRHD website’s toolkit, which features an array of downloadable resources such as flyers, social media graphics, and event ideas that can be used to spread the word. Further support for NRHD can also be given through fiscal contributions here.
Since its foundation more than 80 years ago, FNU has been committed to serving rural communities and their unique healthcare needs. It is the university’s mission to continue supporting these communities by encouraging new health care workers to go out and provide care to these essential American regions.
Thank you to all of the FNU staff, faculty, students, and preceptors who make rural America a priority!