UIndy, St. Francis launch nursing partnership


The University of Indianapolis and Franciscan St. Francis Health have launched a partnership that creates a new level of collaboration between nursing education and the practice of health care in central Indiana. 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 RNs is pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Another group of nurses who already held BSN degrees began 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 health care marketplace,” says Dr. Anne Thomas, dean of UIndy’s School of Nursing, “there’s a real need for nurses with the advanced preparation to take on management and administrative roles, and for educators who can prepare new generations of nurses and meet the workforce demand.”

‘Hallmark collaboration’

According to Susan McRoberts, chief nursing officer for St. Francis Health, “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.”

The off-campus degree programs are similar to UIndy partnerships that include a bachelor’s in nursing for Hendricks Regional Health and associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees for IU Health (formerly Clarian). Distinct to the St. Francis Health partnership, however, is a personnel exchange that brings practical experience to the classroom and academic research to the health care setting. Working nurses will serve as guest lecturers in UIndy nursing classes, providing up-to-the-minute insights on patient care. In turn, a UIndy professor serves as a research liaison to St. Francis, helping staff evaluate internal procedures and improve patient outcomes.