Goal – Reduce burnout and promote resiliency among health workforce

Wilson School of Nursing at MSU Texas receives HRSA training grant

A $2.3 million grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration will help Midwestern State University’s Wilson School of Nursing produce programs to reduce burnout and promote mental health in the health care workforce. The grant, spread over three years, will provide funds to benefit health care workers, first responders, and health sciences students, who have all been affected by the past two years of COVID-19, increase resiliency and provide training in self-care.

The Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program will help plan, develop, and operate training activities using evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies to reduce and address burnout, suicide, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. Another goal is to promote resiliency among health care students, residents, professionals, paraprofessionals, trainees, public safety officers, and employers, collectively known as the “health workforce,” in rural and underserved communities.

American Medical Response will also help train area health care workers to recognize their own issues and to decrease burnout. The grant will provide resources and support for those workers. More than 20 people, such as responders who help with the aftermath of traumatic events, will be trained in crisis management.

Associate Professor of Nursing Catherine Pankonien said the grant will help make sure everyone knows how to reach out for help. “It will also help reduce the stigma of mental health issues. Health care workers have a high burnout rate. HRSA is putting a lot into providing resiliency training to improve the mental health of our workers.”

The Wilson School of Nursing will host free workshops on managing stress for health care workers. Pankonien said that the first workshops would be scheduled in the early fall and counselors would also be in place by then.

Students in health sciences at MSU Texas and Vernon College will be included in the training so they can learn self-care and resiliency before they graduate.

The grant is part of the American Rescue Plan funding to reduce burnout and promote mental health in the health workforce. These awards, which take into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, will help health care organizations establish a culture of wellness and will support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers.

Medically underserved areas and populations are designations given by HRSA to geographic areas and populations with a lack of access to primary medical, dental, or mental care services. Populations within the areas may be homeless, low-income, Medicaid-eligible, Native American, or migrant farmworkers who face economic, cultural, or linguistic barriers to heath care. The designations are based on four criteria: the population-to-provider ratio, the percent of population below the federal poverty level, the percent of the population over age 65, and the infant mortality rate. Wichita County and many surrounding counties are designated as medically underserved.

The Wilson School of Nursing will receive more than $1 million the first year, $701,623 the second year, and $479,030 the third year.

Contact Pankonien at catherine.pankonien@msutexas.edu for more information.