CSU–Pueblo to start nursing residency program at Custer County Medical Center

The graduate nursing program at Colorado State University-Pueblo will help solve a primary care provider shortage at the Custer County Medical Clinic in Westcliffe. Through a unique partnership, Acute Care and Family Nurse Practitioner (AC/FNP) students will obtain valuable hands-on rural health care experience.

The clinic, located in Westcliffe, Colo., has experienced a provider shortage over the last two years. Medical Director Robert Bliss, M.D., proposed the development of a clinical teaching environment for CSU-Pueblo graduate nurse practitioner students with Nurse Practitioner faculty providing patient care at the clinic. The clinical residency program became a reality through the efforts of Dr. Bliss, the clinic’s Executive Director Terry Nimnicht, and Graduate Nursing Program Coordinator, Joe Franta, N.P.
“The clinic is a modern health facility, and CSU-Pueblo graduate nursing students will receive a high level of clinical experience while improving access to quality health care for this rural population/community,” Franta said.

CSU-Pueblo nursing faculty also will benefit by obtaining direct patient care hours needed to maintain their board certification and their clinical expertise. The University will provide board certified nurse practitioners (family and/or acute care) to provide medical coverage to the Custer County Medical Clinic for four days per week based on standard clinic office hours.

According to the agreement, funding will support the clinical residency program as well as assist the on-campus graduate nursing program.

“The establishment of the clinic also reflects the University’s commitments to community service, research, and training,” said Provost Russ Meyer. “Nursing students will gain competencies in rural practice and learn to apply clinical requirements for acute care, family, and pediatrics under direct faculty guidance.”
Clinical Residency Programs are becoming a national trend, which allow faculty to be part of direct hands-on experiences for the students. Traditionally, generous community health care providers have precepted Nurse Practitioner students. With the addition of this program, CSU – Pueblo will be able to expand their current graduate nursing enrollment.

CSU – Pueblo offers the following emphasis areas for a Master of Science Degree with a major in Nursing -- Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, combined Acute Care / Family Nurse
Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Educator.

The Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program is the only one offered in the state at this time. Students in the combined ACNP/FNP program complete 1,110 hours of clinical rotation before graduation. The graduate nursing program is accredited by the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission and all graduates are eligible to take National Certification exams.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.