School of Nursing grows to meet demand, 50 years on call


In 1959, quiet, unassuming Indiana Central College unveiled its new Nursing Department.

A half century later, both enjoy a new identity and robust growth. Today, the University of Indianapolis boasts a thriving School of Nursing, with programs and burgeoning enrollments that help provide an answer to the chronic shortage of nurses, both in Indiana and nationally.

School of Nursing enrollments have grown from just 24 in its first year to 868 in 2009.

The School has graduated from offering just one nursing program to offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, an accelerated master’s, and a master of science with a choice of six tracks.

Doctor is in (almost)

Recently, the School has developed programs relating to women’s health. And a doctor of nursing practice program will debut in 2011.

Responding to employer needs, the School now has on-site course offerings at area hospitals and a number of progressive master’s programs, including Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator, Nursing and Health Systems Leadership, an MSN/MBA dual degree program, and Indiana’s only master’s degree in Nurse-Midwifery.

“The future is about technology, new curriculums, new learning models and methods,” Dean Anne Thomas says, “as well as virtual classrooms, simulation scenarios incorporated into classrooms, academic partnerships on a more macro level, and increasing research funding.”

UIndy’s School of Nursing has a history of service. Students and faculty have traveled to Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Sierra Leone. Its students participate in the Appalachian Service Project, an organization devoted to making homes “warmer, safer, drier.”

Leading the field

They are active in local community projects, conducting health workshops at schools, offering free school and sports physicals, and volunteering for community boards, to name a few.

Most of the School’s faculty are certified in specialty practices, and hold local, state, or national leadership positions in professional organizations. Many volunteer at local, state, national, and international levels.

The School of Nursing makes its home in the Martin Hall health sciences building, which also houses UIndy’s highly regarded programs in occupational and physical therapy.

In addition to on-site partnerships with hospitals, the School is moving beyond its physical location with hybrid course formats offering more flexibility and a master’s track to be offered online for international students.

Community partners

Thomas is grateful to area hospitals and the other institutions and individuals supporting the School of Nursing.

“Our community and academic partners, nursing advocates, and others are key to where we’ve been and where we’re going,” she says.

“Individuals and institutions willing to support nursing education, provide high-quality preceptor and clinical rotations, and participate in collaborations are key to our mission to provide competent graduates to ease the continuing nursing shortage.”

Contact Anne Thomas at (317) 788-3206 or visit the Nursing site at