Fall 2011Impact

School of Nursing teams with another major health system

UIndy’s School of Nursing is becoming the go-to institution for Central Indiana hospital systems seeking to bring on-site degree programs to their nursing staffs. The University just launched a new partnership with Franciscan St. Francis Health that creates a new level of collaboration between nursing education and the practice of health care.

At the core of the relationship are two UIndy degree programs, each accepting up to 30 students per year, with courses conducted on-site at St. Francis facilities for the convenience of working nurses who want to advance their careers. One cohort of registered nurses from St. Francis facilities began earlier this year pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

This fall, a group of nurses who already hold BSN degrees will enter an on-site Master of Science in Nursing program, with a choice of specializing in nursing education or health systems leadership, both high-demand areas.

“In the current healthcare marketplace, there’s a real need for nurses with the advanced preparation to take on management and administrative roles, as well as for educators who can prepare new generations of nurses and meet the workforce demand,” said Anne Thomas, dean of the UIndy School of Nursing.

Franciscan St. Francis, one of the largest healthcare systems in Indiana, is part of a network of 13 growing hospital campuses in Indiana and Illinois owned and operated by the Franciscan Alliance, formerly known as the Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc.

“This is a hallmark collaboration between our hospital and the University of Indianapolis, because education is an ongoing component for those who have chosen nursing careers,” said Susan McRoberts, vice president and chief nursing officer for St. Francis Health, which employs more than 1,400 nurses at its hospitals in Indianapolis, Beech Grove, and Mooresville.

Ongoing partnerships

The off-campus degree programs are similar to ongoing UIndy partnerships that include a bachelor’s in nursing at Hendricks Regional Health as well as associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees at IU Health (formerly Clarian), the state’s largest hospital system. The associate’s program is being provided through a federal workforce development initiative helping IU Health employees move up the career ladder, freeing up entry-level healthcare positions for jobseekers displaced by cutbacks in manufacturing and other industries.

A distinct feature of the St. Francis partnership is a personnel exchange to bring practical experience to the classroom and academic research to the healthcare setting. Working nurses will serve as guest lecturers in UIndy classes, providing up-to-the-minute insights on patient care. In turn, a UIndy professor is serving as a research liaison to St. Francis, helping the staff evaluate internal procedures and improve patient outcomes.

About nursing at UIndy

UIndy’s School of Nursing is known for crafting innovative degree programs to meet community needs. Its master’s degree offerings include a nursing/MBA dual degree, the state’s only graduate program in nurse-midwifery, and the Accelerated Master’s Program, which prepares career-changers for leadership roles in health care. Other specialties in the Master of Science in Nursing program include Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, and Nursing and Health Systems Leadership. The University will launch a Doctor of Nursing Practice program in May 2012. More information is available at http://nursing.uindy.edu.

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