Graduate Nurse Training Program Expands

07/22/99    Portland, Ore.

Federal Grant Leads to Addition of New Training Site on Southern Oregon Coast.

When the International Paper Mill closed its doors in January of 1999, more than 200 Coos Bay area families felt the pinch. Just ask family nurse practitioner Duke VandeVoort, who received his training through Oregon Health Science University's graduate nursing program and now works at the Dunes Family Medical Clinic in nearby Reedsport.

He noticed the impact right away. "That kind of stress very quickly manifests itself on families in the forms of physical and emotional abuse," VandeVoort says.

Coos Bay is not alone. A need for community-focused health care can be felt across the state.

But now, thanks to a three-year federal grant, more aid is on the way. On July 1, the OHSU School of Nursing received federal funding to offer the two-year full-time family nurse practitioner program in Coos Bay beginning in 2000. The funding also allows increased enrollment in the nurse practitioner program at other campuses located in Portland, Ashland, La Grande and Klamath Falls.

OHSU's nurse practitioner program, which has been ranked 6th in the nation for two consecutive years in U.S. News and World Report, wants to increase its minority enrollment in the program and values the cultural diversity of its students.

Improving minority enrollment and outreach to rural areas will bring health care to Oregonians in need. Nurse practitioner education will emphasize working with at-risk youth and their families. "When we looked at Oregon's health needs, we found that abuse, suicide, depression, poor nutrition, tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs were some of the big issues in our state," says M. Katherine Crabtree, D.N.Sc., A.N.P., Project Director and associate professor at OHSU's School of Nursing. "Then we said, let's prepare our nurse practitioners to deal with those issues so we can make a difference where it's needed most."

Applications for fall 2000 enrollment at the Coos Bay site are due by March 15, 2000. Up to eight students will be chosen to participate. The deadline for applications at all other campuses remains January 15th.

Course work includes master's core classes in health policy, cultural diversity, clinical research, pathophysiology, pharmacology, health promotion and training in management of common, acute and chronic illnesses for patients of all ages.

The latest technology will be incorporated in the program. Classrooms will be linked to other sites by satellite television with two-way audio and video capability. Internet conferencing will enrich interaction between students and faculty while establishing a network for new graduates. Local faculty will conduct clinical training.

VandeVoort believes the program will continue to strengthen health care in Oregon's less populated regions like the southern Oregon coast. He says, "If you allow people to study in rural areas, there's a greater chance they will stay and practice in those rural areas."

Please call Jim Newman at (503) 494-8231 to coordinate interviews with M. Katherine Crabtree and Duke VandeVoort.