UI College of Nursing Partners with Free Medical Clinic to Expand Care
By Lynn Anderson Davy | Iowa Now | 4/13/2018
A new partnership between the University of Iowa College of Nursing and the Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic (FMC) aims to expand student learning experiences as well as access to medical care for local residents who can’t afford to visit a provider’s office because they have insufficient health insurance or no insurance at all.
The partnership, which began in January 2018, was established after discussions between Larry Newman, an assistant clinical professor of nursing and longtime FMC volunteer, and Barbara Vinograde, the clinic’s executive director. They envisioned a collaboration that would expose nursing students to patients on the fringe of the health care spectrum and expand medical services to those in need, including families on the verge of poverty, newly arrived immigrants, elderly residents, and the homeless.
Just a few months into the partnership, that win-win vision is a reality, and Newman and Vinograde already are talking about extending the collaboration beyond the initial one-year time frame.
“It’s been such a success that I’m already looking for ways to continue the relationship,” says Vinograde, who has worked at the FMC for more than 25 years. “Based on initial results and the increase in the number of patients we can serve thanks to the presence of the nurse practitioner students, I can only see the partnership getting better and better.”
For the FMC, the partnership means the addition of a part-time nurse practitioner to the clinic’s roster of medical and dental providers, most of whom are volunteers, as well as the time and energy of two nurse practitioner students. This boost in personnel is being financed through an anonymous gift made to the clinic. The gift includes a possible one-year extension in funding. The FMC relies on roughly $1.3 million in in-kind services annually to augment its roughly $480,000 operating budget. The State Hygienic Laboratory at the UI, UI Hospitals and Clinics, and the UI College of Pharmacy are among the local institutions that provide in-kind services.
UI College of Nursing Dean Julie Zerwic says she is pleased with the collaboration. She says it will help nurse practitioner students fulfill clinical rotation requirements needed to gain experience and obtain their degree, and that it also will be helpful to those looking to work in public health care settings after graduation.
“This partnership enables us to provide an important service for underserved members of our community who might not otherwise receive medical care,” says Zerwic. “It also enables our students to gain valuable clinical experience in a community health environment before they graduate.”
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