News Center

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

UIndy, St. Francis Health form nurse practitioner pipeline

New on-site degree program addresses growing gap in primary care

INDIANAPOLIS -- As demand for primary healthcare services exceeds capacity, the University of Indianapolis and Franciscan St. Francis Health are expanding their educational partnership to help more nurses advance their careers and become family nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners can counteract the growing shortage of primary care physicians by providing such services as the initial evaluation of patients, ongoing care for chronic diseases and preventive screenings and immunizations.

In August 2013, under the new agreement, UIndy’s School of Nursing will begin offering Master of Science courses with the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty at a Franciscan St. Francis education facility near its Indianapolis hospital at 8111 S. Emerson Ave.

Nurses with bachelor’s degrees will enter the program in cohorts of 12 to 15, meet for evening classes and clinical experiences designed to fit their work schedules, and emerge three years later with an advanced degree. Franciscan St. Francis will provide tuition reimbursement for nurses from its Indianapolis, Mooresville and Carmel hospitals and its physician practices in the area.

According to projections, Franciscan St. Francis needs to add more than 100 nurse practitioners to its system by 2016 to meet the demand for primary care.

“We are so happy to be partnering once again with University of Indianapolis to provide our nurses the educational opportunity to continue their Franciscan ministry in an advance practice role,” said Susan McRoberts, regional vice president and chief nursing officer for Franciscan St. Francis Health.

The new program is the third master’s degree partnership between the two organizations, joining two ongoing programs that focus on nursing education and health systems leadership.

Anne Thomas, dean of UIndy’s School of Nursing, praised Franciscan St. Francis for its progressive approach to the issue.

“The graduates of this new partnership will provide high-quality primary care services in a system that is a team-based, interdisciplinary and patient-centered,” Thomas said. “This is another example of St. Francis moving forward in a rapidly changing healthcare environment and creatively meeting patient needs through academic partnerships.”

UIndy also provides bachelor’s degree programs in nursing for Franciscan St. Francis.