Opportunities for Alabama Rural Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

The UAB School of Nursing (SON) wants to improve the quality of life for all Alabamians, especially those who have limited access to health care. Through targeted programs, the school is devoted to increasing the number of primary care advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), building partnerships to break down barriers, and increasing access to health care in rural and underserved areas.

Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars

In Alabama, 55 of the state’s 67 counties are designated as rural, with 62 being designated as primary care shortage areas. With this health professional shortage affecting 1.6 million people across the state, we need primary care advanced practice registered nurses more than ever before in order to improve access to health care for all Alabamians. With support from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, the UAB School of Nursing is working to overcome one of the most challenging issues facing our state by training providers who want to live and serve in these rural areas.

About Primary Care Scholars

The Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars (GNEPCS) are current graduate students planning to provide primary care in one of Alabama’s rural-designated counties upon graduation.

Primary Care Scholars enroll in the same courses as their classmates but receive mentoring, individualized content relative to rural health issues, preceptorships with rural health providers, and other opportunities for professional and leadership development.

It is structured to produce new curricula for teaching students, develop best practice models, and establish an annual summit for health care providers across the state to learn and share approaches for helping the medically underserved.

A central theme driving GNEPCS is generating and sharing new knowledge.

Primary Care Scholars Will:

  • Gain clinical experience with rural primary care providers.
  • Participate in monthly mentoring sessions providing opportunities to share clinical experiences, discuss timely topics in rural health, and learn from guest speakers.
  • Be encouraged to grow as advocates for improving access and patient care in rural Alabama by participating in networking opportunities and engaging at the local, state, and national level in professional organizations dedicated to improving health for rural and underserved populations.
  • Have access to content specifically created by expert practitioners for primary care providers practicing in rural Alabama.
  • Participate in an annual educational summit, which includes face-to-face networking, hands-on skills training and learning from experts in the field.

Primary Care Scholars Initiative Goals

  • Establish primary care clinical training sites in Alabama’s rural and underserved areas where scholars gain hands-on-experience working with rural providers.
  • Provide ongoing professional development to meet the needs of rural primary care providers, preceptors, and scholars though distance-accessible activities, including webinars.
  • Create primary care advanced practice registered nurse leaders in rural health for Alabama and beyond.
  • Create a pathway of nurses from rural Alabama counties for recruitment into primary care APRN MSN and DNP Programs (FNP, AGNP, PNP, WHNP, PMHNP, & CNM) as Primary Care Scholars.
  • Offer Primary Care Scholars additional mentoring and curricular components specific to primary care practice in rural areas.
  • Focus on educating more advanced practice nurses to work in underserved areas, and on building networks connecting Alabama’s existing rural health care providers with one another and UAB to reach more Alabamians needing primary care.

Primary Care Scholars Admission

To apply you must first be admitted to one of the primary care APRN tracks in the School’s MSN or DNP program.

For more information, view our Primary Care Scholars fact sheet.

The primary care nurse practitioner tracks eligible for participation are:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN or DNP)
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN or DNP)
  • Dual Pediatric Primary and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN)
  • Adult-Gero Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN or DNP)
  • Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (MSN or DNP)
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN or DNP)
  • Nurse Midwifery (MSN)

Note: Individual specialty tracks may have additional experience requirements, please review the individual specialty track application requirements for further information.

Rural Healthcare Preceptors

Primary care providers serving in rural or underserved communities have the experience, knowledge, and expertise needed to train future advanced practice registered nurses and ensure they are prepared to meet the challenges associated with providing care in Alabama’s rural communities. We realize you are on the “front lines” of providing care and we want you to know we appreciate and support your efforts to improve health care for the people you serve. You have a great deal to offer and we hope you will consider partnering with us in our efforts to prepare the future APRNs needed to address the needs of Alabama. As a rural healthcare provider working with students in the UAB School of Nursing Graduate Education Primary Care Scholars initiative, you have the opportunity to invest in the providers of tomorrow.

Benefits of being a preceptor

Rural providers who become a preceptor for students in the GNEPCS initiative receive a number of benefits, including:

  • Opportunity to share knowledge and experience preparing APRNs for primary practice in rural and underserved areas.
  • Ability to participate in a professional network connecting Alabama’s rural health providers.
  • Access to free distance-accessible professional development opportunities offering CEUs.
  • Earn participation hours for your APRN certification renewal application.
  • Participation in an annual educational summit on rural health issues (CEUs awarded).
  • A certificate for your office acknowledging your contribution and recognizing you as a partner in educating and preparing UAB advanced practice registered nursing students.

Become a preceptor today

We continually recruit and admit primary care advanced practice registered nursing students from all Alabama counties. These students benefit from the opportunity to train with skilled professionals who are familiar with the needs of their communities.

If you are a healthcare provider willing to precept students from your county (or neighboring counties), please follow the link below and provide the requested information. We will provide you with additional information on how to become a preceptor.

By partnering with us and expressing your willingness to precept students, you will be provided free access to our professional development offerings. Thank you for helping prepare the Alabama APRNs of tomorrow!

Preceptor Information Form