The Teaching Nursing Home Program

This chapter takes a retrospective look at the Teaching Nurse Home Program, an effort funded by the Foundation between 1982 and 1987 to improve the quality of nursing home care and the clinical training of nurses by linking nursing schools with nursing homes. Maintaining relationships between nursing homes and nursing schools proved more difficult than anticipated; nursing homes had less money than did hospitals, and geriatrics was not an attractive field for many new nurses. The author describes the beginnings of the program; the program in operation; the experience at Rutgers; and the evaluation process and results. While it is viewed by some as a program that suffered unfulfilled promise, it is also considered a program that has made a difference in a number of areas. There are several new teaching nursing home programs today that were inspired by the first program. In addition, there are six thousand nurse practitioners—registered nurses with advanced degrees—in geriatrics, 80 percent of whom work in nursing homes, and such a development was one of the program's aims. Finally, the evaluation of the Teaching Nurse Home Program played a role in sharpening the way that societal care of the elderly is evaluated.