Medical Education Adapts To New Needs In RI

Apr 15, 2014

Rhode Island College announced a new graduate certificate program in nursing care management today. In a statement, the college explained what nurse care managers do and why they decided to offer this program now:

RIC nursing students participate in a simulation.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

"Nurse care managers provide patient assessment, treatment planning, health care facilitation and advocacy within all health care settings, including private practices and hospitals.

'This program will be the first of its kind and meet a critical need in Rhode Island’s health care landscape,' RIC  President Nancy Carriuolo said...

...The content for this new offering arose from discussions with nursing care managers from The Rhode Island Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative, which supports the patient-centered medical home model of primary care."

There's a growing number of patient-centered medical homes in Rhode Island, which is a kind of team-based primary care. A key member of those teams is often a nurse care manager, who helps coordinate a patient's care. It makes sense that one of the state's nursing schools would want to help educate nurses to take on these roles as their prevalence increases.

At Johnson & Wales University in Providence, the inaugural class of physician assistants starts this June in a brand new building designed just for the program. Its focus is also on educating PAs to work in patient-centered medical homes, as part of a team of providers in a primary care doctor's office.

And students in Brown University's new Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership program are part way through their first year. The program is supposed to arm participants with the tools they need to help lead health care transformation in their organizations, which can mean anything from developing new programs that deliver high quality health care at lower cost to navigating changing health care technology requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

These programs complement an already robust health education landscape, in my humble opinion, for such a small state: several great nursing programs and a movement afoot to boost cooperation amongst them, a world class medical school, and more. Those programs carry benefits for regular folks, too: more access to care, the ability to participate in research studies, and more. Whether there are enough jobs here for them and enough interest in staying in Rhode Island is another story.