Premera RNHI

UW Premera Rural Nursing Health Initiative:
A Partnership for Healthier Rural Communities

Our mission:

The mission of the Premera Rural Nursing Health Initiative (RNHI), led by the University of Washington and in partnership with collaborating Washington state universities with DNP programs, is to enhance clinical placements for advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) students and to develop an innovative ARNP postgraduate fellowship program to ensure a robust pipeline and network of primary care ARNPs to improve health outcomes and access in rural Washington communities.


The need:

Rural residents have less access to primary and preventive care, which creates complex medical needs and reduces longevity and/or the chance of surviving a major heart attack, stroke, or other health event. Additionally, healthcare agencies in rural settings are challenged to recruit and retain primary care providers, increasing the disparity of health care access for rural patient populations. The UW School of Nursing in partnership with the Premera Foundation is addressing the urgent need to improve access and health outcomes for rural populations by developing a two-tier pipeline of primary care in rural Washington state.  

Together, we create:
  • Enhanced clinical rotations for DNP students by partnering with healthcare providers across the state, including in Eastern Washington, Northwest Washington, Southwest Washington, and the Olympic Peninsula.
  • A rural, collaborative postgraduate ARNP fellowship program to deliver a year-long, high quality, distance-friendly program for recent ARNP graduates.
  • Outcomes and evaluation studies for both the clinical learning opportunities and for the postgraduate ARNP fellowship program in rural and underserved communities led by the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS).

Postgraduate ARNP fellowship program:   

Recent ARNP graduates exploring employment opportunities to serve rural communities within Washington state are invited to apply for a 12-month fellowship program designed to increase professional competency and confidence in the clinical setting.  Partnerships between healthcare organizations and UW Premera Rural Nursing Health Initiative will offer a unique fellowship experience of programmatic expertise, academic excellence, and a robust professional network throughout Washington state.
Prospective Rural ARNP Fellow


DNP students in rural settings:

DNP students interested in rural primary care practice, improving health outcomes for rural communities, and working with diverse, underserved populations are invited to apply for a one quarter/semester Premera-funded rural clinical rotation. Matched students will receive a $10,000 stipend to defray living expenses during this training/learning experience.
DNP Student Clinical Rotation

“I thoroughly enjoyed my rural clinical site rotation! I felt I had access to a wealth of practical education that will prepare me for a career in a rural community following graduation.”
(Carolyn Mattson, Seattle University DNP/FNP student, Autumn 2020 UW Premera RNHI stipend recipient)

“I have loved my rural clinical rotations as there is a strong sense of community within the clinic and strong patient-provider relationships. I have been exposed to procedures and complex patients that would likely have been referred out in an urban setting.”
(Gabriella Worden, Seattle University DNP/FNP student, Winter 2021 UW Premera RNHI stipend recipient)

Photo of sun mountain in Winthrop, WA(taken by Jessica Medrala, UW Premera stipend recipient)

“One way to build rapport and connect with the rural community is to understand aspects of culture and resources within the community. Spend time looking at schools, community centers, city hall, hospitals, outside clinics, and emergency services before you begin. That knowledge will go far with your patients when you can make recommendations and have conversations regarding their goals specific to the community you are serving.”
(Seattle University DNP/PMHNP student, Spring 2021 UW Premera RNHI stipend recipient)

Funded by: Premera