SDSU's College of Nursing receives grant to increase number of qualified nurse preceptors

Christina Plemmons

BROOKINGS — South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing is partnering with Montana State University through a four-year, nearly $4 million grant to increase the number of skilled, qualified clinical nursing faculty and preceptors in the region.

The funding is from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the United State Department of Health and Human Services.

The project, titled “The Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Program — Clinical Faculty and Preceptor Academies,” will see SDSU serving nursing programs and healthcare employers throughout South Dakota. SDSU will assess state needs, recruit participants, coordinate training activities, and promote enrollment in an established preceptor development course through the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence.

“There are 3 plus million registered nurses in the nation, and with more and more nurses retiring, we need to train more,” said Christina Plemmons, assistant academic dean for cooperative programs in the College of Nursing. “Many registered nurses don’t feel they have time or aren’t drawn to being a clinical instructor or preceptor, so this program is way to support people who may be interested.”

The nursing profession as a whole is experiencing a shortage in nearly every area, including preceptors, which play a vital role in training future nursing professionals. Through workshops, trainings and other opportunities, this grant will strengthen preceptor training and education across HHS Region 8, which includes South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, through workshops, trainings and other opportunities. Further, the grant aims to recruit and identify clinical faculty to work in rural and underserved areas.

“Clinical experiences are integral to nursing education,” Plemmons added. “Our BSN students begin clinical experiences in the very first semester of the nursing program, and they continue all the way through until they graduate. At every level, we need a clinical instructor; for some of those experiences, we need a preceptor. This grant will address that need.”

The project aims to train and support nearly 900 clinical faculty and preceptors across all regions.

LeAnn Lamb, an instructor at the college’s Rapid City site, and Becka Forester, a lecturer at the Brookings campus, will serve as the grant liaisons.

SDSU is the only nursing program representing South Dakota for this project.