Walsh Byers School of Nursing Receives $600,000 HRSA Federal Grant


School News

Grant to Support FNP Clinical Training to Benefit Local Providers and Patients

The Walsh University Byers School of Nursing received a $597,621 grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the development of academic clinical partnerships for its Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program. 

An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the HRSA is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the health care workforce, building healthy communities and achieving health equity.  

The three-year grant will support Walsh’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program by establishing closer ties for training with health care institutions in the local region, benefitting Walsh FNP students and providing a more skilled nursing workforce for the local community.

The well-documented shortage of primary care providers across the nation, coupled with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, has increased the demand for family nurse practitioners who are licensed to treat patients across the lifespan. The FNP typically works collaboratively with family primary care physicians and other professionals within the health care system.

"With an anticipated future physician shortage looming over the health care industry, we are hearing from our community healthcare partners that what they really need are more family nurse practitioners who are better prepared to begin practice in the clinical environment immediately upon graduation," said Byers School of Nursing Dean Dr. Linda Linc. "Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that all Walsh FNP graduates can seamlessly transition from graduation to practice and improve the health care delivery and health outcomes for patients." 

In FNP programs across the country, students are often required to find their own preceptors or clinical training sites. A distinguishing feature of the Walsh FNP program is that students coordinate directly with the Byers School of Nursing Director of Clinical Education to find suitable placements in local clinical settings. With funding from the HRSA Grant, the Byers School of Nursing will launch an expanded clinical transition program to address the regional need for a better-organized and intentional infrastructure around clinical training for the family nurse practitioner.

Walsh FNP Program Coordinator and grant project director Janet Finneran, FNP-BC, said that the new program will provide significant opportunities for Walsh FNP students, health care providers, and most importantly, for patients in the local community.

"With funding from the HRSA grant, our new clinical transition program will strengthen our current FNP educational offerings and ultimately benefit the entire Northeast Ohio patient population," said Finneran."We will now be able to provide a more coordinated clinical experience for our students with dedicated rotations in specialties such as cardiology, pulmonology and endocrinology. Students will then be able to choose from other areas of interest such as mental health, geriatrics or neurology. This experience will provide the interdisciplinary range of clinical training our local partners are requesting, while preparing our FNP students to handle a wider variety of clinical cases in patients."  

The program will:

  • Improve the administrative process around clinical training
  • Promote collaboration between academia and health service organizations
  • Ensure that FNP graduates can seamlessly transition from graduation to practice
  • Improve health care delivery and health outcomes for patients

One significant component of the clinical transition program will also address the rural and underserved populations of Northeast Ohio, which are sometimes overlooked as clinical training sites for FNP students. Walsh faculty members managing the clinical transition program will focus their time and resources on developing new partnerships with regional clinical sites dedicated to serving patients in these areas.

"Securing diverse clinical placements for FNPs can be challenging, however, this grant will afford Walsh the opportunity to enhance access to diverse clinical training sites while increasing service to rural and underserved populations" said Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Douglas Palmer.

As part of Walsh University’s Master of Science in Nursing program, Walsh’s Family Nurse Practitioner track meets the health care needs of the family, particularly surrounding family self-care. Walsh’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program was launched in 2012 and will celebrate its first class of graduates in December 2015. For more information, please contact Walsh Graduate Admissions Counselor Mona McAuliffe at or 330-490-7406. 

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Walsh University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street, NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. (