7/3/2013 7:04:00 AM Schneck gift positively impacts nursing program
Schneck Medical Center and the Schneck Foundation have donated $50,000 to Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC) that will be used to support Division of Nursing doctoral faculty who are completing tenure-track research. Gary Meyer, Schneck Medical Center CEO, said developing high-caliber nursing faculty will improve the health, health outcomes, and quality of life in Seymour and surrounding communities. "Schneck strives to have the best in medical facilities, technology, equipment, and healthcare professionals. As the speed of change in the U.S. healthcare system continues to increase-and shows no signs of slowing-our need for well- educated, innovative, systems-oriented nurses is paramount," Meyer said. According to Dr. Beth Sharer, head of the IU School of Nursing at IUPUC, the funding will enable the Columbus campus to offer scholarships to faculty completing research for tenured positions. "Having tenured, doctorally prepared faculty is essential for our future growth," Sharer said. "Because of this gift, we will have more leverage to recruit and retain top-notch faculty whose talent and expertise will ensure we continue delivering excellence in nursing education." The number of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students at IUPUC has consistently grown in recent years. To meet workforce projections for BSN-prepared nurses by 2020, however, Sharer said the campus must educate even more students. The nursing program at IUPUC is currently accredited as part of IUPUI but is seeking independent accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). That accreditation, Sharer notes, requires faculty to hold doctoral degrees. IUPUC's goal is for at least half of its nursing faculty with doctorates to be in tenure-track positions. Ten-ure is a process that measures quality and productivity of instructors engaged in teaching, research, and scholarly work. As doctoral faculty seeking tenure, IUPUC faculty must complete intensive research projects over the course of two summers. Because of that workload and the hours required to complete their research, they are unable to simultaneously hold paid teaching positions, Sharer noted. Nursing faculty who teach on IU's core Indianapolis and Bloom-ington campuses have been funded to pursue tenure-track research and scholarship for several years, an incentive that was previously unavailable in Columbus before the Schneck gift. A 2010 report issued by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, recommends that hospitals and other healthcare facilities increase the proportion of RNs with bachelor's degrees to at least 80 percent of their total nursing workforce by 2020. Currently, many RNs employed at Schneck and other hospitals have only two-year associate degrees rather than advanced bachelor's degrees. Vicki Johnson, vice president of nursing services and chief nursing officer at Schneck Medical center, explained that knowledgeable, skilled nurses are essential. "We take pride in hiring well-qualified, passionate nurses. Our partnership with IUPUC is extremely important. We are glad the gift will help them recruit and retain highly educated nursing faculty. Together, we will ensure IUPUC remains at the forefront of innovation and excellence in nursing education," Johnson said.