Niagara University receives two grants to grow and strengthen nursing and disability awareness
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY– Niagara University has received a $300,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to continue and enhance work done by its College of Nursing to foster nurse resilience, effectively bridge the transition from student to health care professional, address a critical shortage in the nursing workforce, increase awareness of health inequities, and develop effective approaches to care in complex environments across Western New York, with an emphasis on Niagara County.
This new funding will be used to enhance the academic preparation of students and improve the quality of care across the lifespan, particularly for the most complex and vulnerable patients in health care settings, by the expanded use of virtual reality, telemedicine training, and other patient-care simulation educational experiences and game-training. These on-campus clinical experiences will enable students to develop sound critical thinking and clinical judgment skills.
The grant will also support the new position of resilience and resource officer, who will work with pre-service nursing and other allied health and related direct care-focused students, novice nurses, interdisciplinary care teams, practicing nurses.
“Proper self-care practices are crucial for nurses in reducing their stress, renewing their ability to provide compassion and empathy, and improving the quality of care,” said Dr. Christine Verni, dean of the college.
Professional development opportunities will also be offered to nursing students, recent graduates, and other health care workers, particularly those early in their career and/or those in leadership positions.
The project builds upon the work started last year with funding from the Cabrini Foundation to enhance technology in the College of Nursing’s simulation and skills labs, develop expanded certifications to create new pathways to the nursing and allied health professions, and facilitate high-impact training for community health instructors.
“At a moment when New York state’s health needs are both acute and wide-ranging, the foundation is supporting hundreds of programs addressing the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers and underserved communities across the state,” said Alfred F. Kelly Jr., executive chairman of Visa and chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.
Niagara’s College of Nursing offers a four-year bachelor of science degree and an accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing, both of which are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has also awarded Niagara University a $200,000 grant from to expand its specialized training in the area of disabilities and substance use disorder to the Erie County Probation department. The training will increase disability and substance use knowledge and awareness among probation officers, improving probationer health care and health care-related services and potentially reducing recidivism among probation clients with complex needs. Last year, a $150,000 Cabrini grant funded this customized training for the Niagara County Probation Department.
“Everyone needs disability awareness training,” said David V. Whalen, project director of Niagara University’s First Responder Disability Awareness Training. “This grant will enable NU FRDAT to extend its customized training to probation staff at the Erie County Probation Department to better prepare them to recognize, identify, approach, interact and respond to their probationers with disabilities and substance use disorder.”
Previous research conducted by faculty in Niagara University’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice indicated that probationers who have mental health and substance use issues that are not properly addressed are more likely to have their probation revoked or to be incarcerated. Without proper training, probation officers are often unable to identify specific needs when they are not disclosed by probationers; consequently, mental health issues often go unnoticed.
NU FRDAT, in partnership with the ECPD and community organizations including Community Services for Every1 ATI (Alternatives to Incarceration), WNY Independent Living Center, Spectrum Services, and Person Center Services, will develop and provide training grounded in the NU Recognize-Identify-Approach-Interact-Respond (RIAIR) model for all ECPD personnel. The training will educate the staff on recognizing disability indicators/characteristics; equip them with the knowledge needed to identify specific disabilities; and provide guidance on appropriate responses, such as utilizing community resources and support services.
“At a moment when New York state’s health needs are both acute and wide-ranging, the foundation is supporting hundreds of programs addressing the needs of vulnerable New Yorkers and underserved
communities across the state. From building up our health care workforce and providing essential resources for immigrants and migrants, to investing in community-based providers that address chronic challenges from mental health to food insecurity, funding this year will again offer much-needed support to underserved communities,” said Alfred F. Kelly Jr., executive chairman of Visa and chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.
This new program will expand NU FRDAT’s current offerings, which include customized training to law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and 911 telecommunicators, as well as training for emergency management personnel, both on site and in virtual formats. It was created in cooperation with all major first responder associations, councils and state offices, and designed to give first responders the knowledge necessary to best serve and respond to individuals with disabilities.