IU Health awards grant to Ivy Tech to expand nursing program

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Jason Gilbert, executive vice president and chief nurse executive at IU Health, understands that health care systems in Indiana are in critical need of skilled nurses.

Gilbert

Gilbert said Ivy Tech Community College is well-positioned to deliver on the need, so IU Health has awarded an $8.75 million grant to Ivy Tech to expand its nursing program and increase nursing student enrollment. The grant will be used for investments to support expanded enrollment, including faculty and staff recruiting and compensation, educational equipment and supportive services for students.

“This grant really endeavors to help Ivy Tech expand their enrollment through faculty recruitment, through more equipment, and other measures,” Gilbert said. “This is an investment in the future of our nursing workforce. This helps to enhance and expand the profession. IU Health’s workforce includes about 9,000 nurses at all of our sites of care across the state. We are looking for more to join our team.”

Gilbert said qualified applicants each year in Indiana are turned away from nursing schools because of limitations on teaching space, clinical placement availability and faculty resources.

“Becoming a nurse was one of the best decisions of my life, and this partnership will ensure that this dream comes true for a greater number of students in our state,” Gilbert said. “This partnership with Ivy Tech is an important step forward in the provision of health care to Hoosiers for generations to come.”

According to labor market data from Emsi/Burning Glass, there an estimated 4,300 annual openings for nurses, with a need for another 5,000 by 2031. That leaves a gap of 1,350 nursing graduates to meet Indiana’s need with present educational resources. The expanded nursing program at Ivy Tech will increase nursing admissions by 600 students annually by 2025, contributing significantly to filling the gap.

Ivy Tech offers nursing programs at 18 of its 19 campuses, with a program planned to launch at the campus in Hamilton County by early 2023. Ivy Tech graduates more than 1,300 associate-degree nursing students every year, more than any other institution in Indiana and in the nation. Additionally, more than 90 percent of Ivy Tech nursing graduates stay in Indiana.

“This grant will be a huge step in helping Ivy Tech meet the needs of our health system partners in a real and practical way,” Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann said. “Our ability to educate nurses and keep them in our state will create real value for our economy and the health of Indiana. We’re very proud to partner with IU Health and appreciate its investment in our program.”

According to a news release, Ivy Tech has been developing a plan for increasing nursing enrollment that includes investments in equipment, supplies and faculty as well as tools to better support nursing students. Ivy Tech officials estimate those investments will require $8.7 million in recurring costs over three years as well as $12.1 million in one-time costs.

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