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Marian University, health provider try to combat Indiana nursing shortage

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Hospital Association estimates Indiana will need 5,000 more nurses by 2031 to meet the needs of the state.

That means Indiana needs to educate or recruit 625 additional nurses each year over the next eight years to have enough by the beginning of 2031.

Dorothy Gomez, the dean of the Marian University Leighton School of Nursing, told News 8, “We have the traditional program for students on campus that want face-to-face education. We have the accelerated BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) degree, and that’s the degree we partner with St. Vincent Ascension Health.”

That 16-month, four-semester program is just the nursing classes, but it is only available to college graduates in other fields looking to make a career change.

Kaity Kirby was a social worker for 10 years before she made the switch. She is in her third semester at Marian in the accelerated program.

“I loved what I did before. I worked with people with severe and persistent mental illness, and intellectual and developmental disability,” Kirby said. “But then in 2019, my father-in-law had been on the liver transplant list and then on his fourth call he finally got his liver transplant and those nurses at the hospital, we still talk about them all the time, and they just really made an impact and it was really meaningful and then when the pandemic hit and seeing the impact nurses have I just felt like i need to make that change.”

Ascension St. Vincent provides the clinical placements for the accelerated students to help them finish their education.

“The pandemic has really accelerated that (the shortage) so we’re really seeing it quite a bit earlier,” said Cindy Adams, the Ascension St. Vincent chief nursing officer. “We saw a number of nurses leave the profession during the pandemic so we are really focusing on that pipeline of new talent, new nurses who choose the profession and facilitating the training.”

IU health said in a statement that nurse recruitment is a priority.

While there is a national nursing shortage, IU Health has made recruiting and retaining nurses a priority. IU Health has invested significantly in training, benefits and other programs to retain and attract nurses by giving them job flexibility, more attractive pay and benefits, and opportunities to advance in their careers. One such program is a workforce development hub that offers continuing education and mentorships for nurses. IU Health has also made significant grants in the past year to the IU School of Nursing and Ivy Tech Community College to expand their nursing schools in order to increase the ranks of new nurses entering the workforce in Indiana.

Indiana University Health

Community Health Network is working in partnership with Ivy Technical College to help close the nursing gap. The college is expanding their nursing programs at the Anderson, Hamilton County, Indianapolis, and Kokomo campuses. The full announcement can be found online.