Mountain and Plains Partnerships for Training Project Offers Advanced Distance Education for Nurses in Underserved Rural West

From 1995 to 2002, a coalition of eight universities and colleges offered a distance education degree program for nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife and physician assistant students working in rural Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Partnerships for Training: Regional Education Systems for Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse-Midwives and Physician Assistants.

Key Results

The coalition, the Mountain and Plains Partnership, achieved the following results as reported to RWJF:

  • Developed a full- or part-time Web- and interactive video-based master's degree program for nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, and physician assistant students in rural and underserved communities in Colorado and Wyoming and parts of New Mexico and Arizona.
    • Students could take some to all of their courses through distance-based learning.
  • Developed a computer loan program and technical support for students, faculty and staff.
  • Enrolled 202 students: 134 nurse practitioner, 13 certified nurse-midwife and 55 physician assistant students. This was 62 percent higher than the original goal of 125 students.
    • Program graduates were practicing in 100 rural and underserved communities that previously had had few or no nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives or physician assistants.