The UNC Greensboro School of Nursing was awarded a two-year grant totaling $493,792 that will help prepare bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) students to interact with patients with mental health needs and teach them to use basic telehealth technology to receive treatment.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed issues that patients often have with using and accepting telehealth technology to interact with health care providers. This new grant supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will address those issues.

The School of Nursing will use funds from the grant to teach students in its prelicensure BSN program and its registered nurse (RN)-to-BSN program to properly use telehealth technology. Students will then show patients and community members how to use the technology to improve their access to mental health care and chronic disease management in rural areas.

The project, entitled “Integration of Telehealth Into Practice: Enhancing Simulation to Improve Mental Health and Chronic Disease Management,” will include School of Nursing faculty members designing hands-on simulations so students can practice interacting with patients who have mental health needs. Students will also get experiences using telehealth in the community.

“It is critical that nursing students are prepared to address mental health and chronic illnesses in those that we serve,” said Dr. Debra J. Barksdale, dean of the UNCG School of Nursing. “Telehealth technology has become a vital tool in contributing to access and quality care. This funding will help greatly with these efforts.” 

As part of the grant, the School of Nursing will hire a full-time faculty member to assist in the creation of telehealth simulation scenarios that meet best practices.