Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

See how the Vanderbilt School of Nursing demonstrated need and established a nurse-managed clinic to create a win-win for the donor, for new nurse practitioners and for the community.

A win-win:  the Vine Hill Clinic trains nurse practitioners and provides access to expert care!

Challenge: The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN) is among an elite group of independent Schools of Nursing in the nation.  It is a recognized leader in educating advance practice nurses with graduate degrees and boasts one of the largest nurse practitioner programs in the United States. In late 1980’s the School urgently needed nurse practitioner practice sites for its growing student population.  Nearby, the Vine Hill neighborhood of public subsidized housing had poor access to healthcare, and the basic healthcare needs of the Vine Hill residents and their children were going unmet.

The Approach: Determined to reach out to the community as well as to provide unique educational opportunities for its students, VUSN developed a bold plan to establish one of the first nurse-managed clinics in the country.  Philanthropy was essential to develop the new program and fund the facility. Up to that time, the School’s advancement program had focused on the development of urgently needed scholarship support.  With the emergence of a new Bridge to Graduate Nursing Program, additional philanthropic resources were needed to support program development.  As the Director of Alumni and Development, Susan led the VUSN executive management team in developing essential resources. Various avenues of foundation and individual support were explored to support emerging needs.  During the research, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation was identified: it appeared to have the right fit.  The Foundation had an interest both in community grassroots development and access to care for underserved populations.  A plan was developed to cultivate and build a relationship with the Foundation through Dean Colleen Conway-Welch and Susan.  Working with the School’s senior management team, the finance office and city government, we created a five-year proposal to establish and sustain the Vine Hill Clinic.  The plan involved the delivery of basic care, tailored to the distinct needs of the neighborhood residents, and its long-term sustainability.

Outcome: Following a site visit, the School was awarded a multi-year grant of nearly $900,000 and established the Vine Hill Community Clinic in the Vine Hill Towers. It is a nurse managed care clinic, which provides primary, mental health, women’s health and pre-natal care to patients across the lifespan with a special focus on vulnerable populations.  The clinic serves over 6,000 residents of the Vine Hill community and its surrounding neighborhoods and provides a rich training site for nurse practitioner graduate students as well as serving as the centerpiece for community health nursing student fieldwork. It now includes satellite offices located at Parthenon, Madison and Hadley Park Towers.

The Impact:  Nearly twenty years later the Vine Hill Clinic continues to deliver healthcare to community residents and training thousands of new nurse practitioners: A healthier community and expertly trained nurse practitioners.