CAPACITY (Community Academic Partnership for Primary Care Nursing Transformation)

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Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing (NHWSN) received a $2.7 million award from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help increase the number of nurses working in community-based primary care settings, particularly among medically underserved populations.


To recruit and train prelicensure nursing students and currently practicing RNs to practice to the full scope of their licenses as part of interprofessional teams in community-based primary care clinics (CBPC).


  • Increase the number of NHWSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates prepared to enter and remain within CBPC and practice to full scope of license.
  • Create and deploy modular professional development programs for RNs working/wanting to work in CBPC settings to practice to the full scope of their licenses and practice effectively in interprofessional teams.
  • Create and deploy a hybrid professional development program for clinical instructors and RN preceptors to optimize their skills as educators.
  • Implement comprehensive evaluation.

A unique characteristic of the four-year project is the school’s partnership with Mercy Care, a federally qualified health center and Atlanta’s only health center for the homeless that also helps individuals who lack access to behavioral health care services.

Patients’ Needs

  • Fragmented healthcare
  • Too much emphasis/resources devoted on acute care
  • Income defines/determines health care received
  • Need to have community-based primary healthcare to meet needs for:
  • Behavioral health integrated with medical care

    Health promotion/wellness emphasis
    Care coordination for patients with multiple problems/co-morbidities
    Coaching for self-management
    Attention to social determinants of health
    Increase access to care

For Prospective Students

Undergraduate nursing students selected to participate in the program will receive scholarship support and will complete at least 150 clinical hours in community-based primary care at Mercy Care, precepted by Mercy Care nurses. The grant will also fund creation and deployment of professional development programs for registered nurses working in community-based primary care environments as well as those who are transitioning from acute care settings to primary care.

Application Process

  • To apply, click here
  • You must be an accepted student to the BSN program at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
  • Submit a 300 to 500-word essay about why you would be a good fit for the CAPACITY program.
  • Please include a description of any relevant experience and describe your perspective on the role community-based primary care plays in nursing care for medically underserved and/or vulnerable populations.
  • Send professional reference from one individual familiar with your background, interests, and abilities to

Application deadline: May 30. Those accepted will be contacted by July 1.


Q: What is CAPACITY project about? What is the purpose of the CAPACITY grant/scholarship?

A: CAPACITY is an educational grant funded by the Health Resources Service Administration to Emory University School of Nursing to help to increase the number of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates prepared with extra knowledge and skills to function to the full scope of their nursing license in the primary care setting. Through a competitive process, we select 10 CAPACITY scholars each year. A great thing about CAPACITY is that it is fully integrated into your nursing program, meaning you still have the same classes and clinical experiences of students who are not part of the program (i.e. you will still do clinical in acute care settings etc.). The difference for CAPACITY scholars is that when you are doing community-based experiences they will be completed at Mercy Care, a federally qualified health care center in Atlanta.

Q: Am I obligated to work in primary care upon graduation?

A: No, you are not. However, we hope by the time you graduate you will recognize the importance of primary care. Much of what you learn will be useful to you when caring for acute care patients, as you will understand the social determinants of health that affect them when they are discharged and what might make them come back to the hospital. if you plan to work in primary care either upon graduation or later in your career, we hope to have prepared you well to practice to the full scope of your license—which means that you would be providing expert nursing care related to care coordination, chronic disease management, and other nursing care.

Q: What is the amount of the CAPACITY scholarship?

A: Students selected as CAPACITY scholars will receive $2,000 per semester, with a total of $8,000 for four semesters of the BSN program of study.

Q: What is my commitment if I receive the scholarship?

A: CAPACITY scholars are required to sign an agreement prior to being admitted to the program to make sure they understand the different activities that HRSA, our CAPACITY grant funding agency, said we must have students complete. The activities are as follows:

  • Complete 150 clinical hours in a primary care setting at one of the clinical partner sites such as Mercy Care of Atlanta. (Note: this 150-hour requirement is part of the 575 hours that are required to complete your nursing program. CAPACITY scholars complete their 150 hours at Mercy Care, whereas students who are not in CAPACITY would complete these 150 hours at other clinical sites where Emory School of Nursing assigns nursing students.)
  • Complete a d two-credit hour Primary Care Nursing course in the third or fourth semester of their program. For your program, there is one elective that is required. CAPACITY students will complete the Primary Care Nursing course to fulfill this elective requirement.
  • Participate in a Summer Clinical Immersion program at one of the primary care sites (Moultrie or Mercy Care).
  • Participate in the Grady Health Coaching program (see attached for more information)
  • Participate in activities that CAPACITY faculty believe will enhance competencies in primary care nursing (Note: these activities will be planned to work within your academic program).

Q: Am I expected to complete 150 clinical hours in primary care on top of my other clinicals (ped, population health…)

A: No – 150 primary care hours are part of the total 575 clinical hours required in the program, not extra.

Q: Do I complete other clinical rotations at Mercy Care as well?

A: No. You will complete other rotations at various clinical sites. For example, you will be at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for your pediatric rotation, or at Emory Mid-town or Gwinnett Medical Center for obstetric rotation.

Q: I am worried that if I commit to CAPACITY, I won’t have a well-rounded clinical experience.

A: You still have other 575 clinical hours in all the other different specialties (i.e. medical/surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, maternity nursing, and psychiatric-mental health nursing). Students who are not CAPACITY students spend the equivalent 150 clinical hours in similar community-based settings, but not at primary care clinics such as Mercy Care.

Q: I had to submit a recommendation letter for this program, but not to apply to nursing school. How come?

A: CAPACITY is a HRSA-funded project with excellent learning opportunities and scholarship funds awarded to students who show evidence that they would be an excellent primary care nurse. Having a letter reference helps us identify the best students for our program.

Q: How many primary care clinical hours do I complete each semester and with which courses are the clinical hours associated?

A: Fall 1 – 25 hrs. with N309-Social Responsibility & Bioethics in Nursing, Spring 1 – 50 hrs. with N315 – Population Health: Community and Public Health Nursing, Fall 2 – 25 hrs. with N502 – Primary Care Nursing elective, Spring 2 - 50 hrs. with N432-Ambulatory Care Nursing. These rotations are subject to change to ensure a minimum of 150 clinical hours in primary care are met

Q: I heard that CAPACITY might provide stipend for a summer externship in primary care. How do I qualify for that?

A: The grant budget includes a Summer stipend of approximately $1,500 for CAPACITY scholars. If you were selected for the program, you would receive your stipend in the Summer of 2021. We will provide more details in the spring of 2021.

Q: Will the service learning activities at Mercy Care for first fall semester always be on Monday 12pm-3pm?

A: No, not always, but with your packed schedule, service learning activities usually fall on Mondays, with other options of Thursdays, Fridays, and sometimes Saturdays. For those who work, it will be challenging to complete the service learning hours, so try not to schedule work on Mondays until you are clear about your clinical schedule.

Q: How many electives do CAPACITY scholars take in total? I think the Primary Care elective sounds interesting, but there are a few more electives I am interested in as well and want to have an idea about what I will be able to take in addition to the required elective.

A: As a full-time student, you can take as many electives as you want as long as you maintain your GPA and the electives do not conflict with the primary care electives.

Resource Guides

The resources in this guide are intended to be open access and accessible to all nurses, particularly those working in ambulatory and primary care in searching for evidence-based information.

Specifics for Admitted Capacity Scholars

  • 10 BSN students recruited yearly
  • 40 total students trained
  • $4,000 scholarship yearly
  • Complete 150 clinical hours of 575 in program in CBPC
  • Students will participate in Georgia Farmworker's Health Program in Moultrie, GA OR
  • Primary care externship in Summer
  • Evaluation data on multiple metrics related to intent to work in CBPC
  • Interface of CAPACITY with BSN curriculum through specific BSN courses for total 150 clinical hours in Community-based primary care
  • Interface of CAPACITY with BSN curriculum through specific BSN courses for total 150 clinical hours in Community-based primary care
  • Fall: NRSG 309 Social Responsibility & Ethics (25 hours at Mercy Care)
  • Spring: NRSG 315 Population Health (50 hours at Mercy Care)
  • Summer Externship: (up to 80 hours at Mercy Care or at Migrant Farm Worker Family Health Project in Moultrie, GA)
  • Fall 2: NRSG 502 Primary Care Elective (25 hours of simulation)
  • Spring 2: NRSG 432 Ambulatory Care (50 hours at Mercy Care)

Capacity Scholar Timeline

Georgia Nurses

If you're a Georgia Nurse practicing in community-based primary care, we can help you enhance your skills in working to the full scope of license.

Example Activities for RNs Working Within Full Scope of Practice:

  • Triage functions
  • Telehealth
  • EMR In-box management
  • Care Coordination and Transition Management
  • Resource RN functions
  • Walk-in triage
  • Chronic disease patient education
  • Pediatric advice
  • Behavioral health integration into primary care
  • Patient Teaching and counseling
  • Self-management support for diet and exercise, depression and sleep
  • Medical adherence counseling

NOTE: If you're a nurse working in other settings we can provide training to prepare you to work in community-based primary care, we will provide professional development modules. You earn CEUs obtained through Emory Nursing Experience. The School of Nursing will partner with training specialists and instructional designers from the Emory Center for Training and Technical Assistance within the Rollins School of Public Health to create high-quality professional development programs and to evaluate the project.

To access our free training courses, visit the Emory Nursing Experience website.


“I feel super blessed to have been a part of this program. I was given a wider breadth of experiences to see what various settings were like... I have even used my CAPACITY clinical experience to help a patient in the acute setting who needed glasses, primary care, and so much more after he was discharged from the hospital." - Cohort 1, 6-month follow-up

“CAPACITY provided me with a great sense of community and continuity throughout our nursing program. It was so enjoyable and helpful to not only develop deep relationships with CAPACITY faculty and other students, but also members of the Mercy Care community.” -Cohort 1, 6-month follow-up


Quyen Phan, CAPACITY Project Partnership Liaison

HRSA Disclaimer

The CAPACITY program is offered through support by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $2,724,632 with 0% funded from non-governmental resources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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