As hospitals across Indiana scramble to hire thousands of nurses, Ivy Tech Community College has landed an $8.75 million grant from Indiana University Health to expand its nursing program and increase student enrollment.
Ivy Tech will use the money to pay faculty and recruit staff, buy educational equipment and fund support services for students, the two organizations said Tuesday in a joint announcement.
Indianapolis-based Ivy Tech graduates more than 1,300 associate-degree nursing students each year, more than any other Indiana nursing school. It offers nursing programs at 18 of its 19 campuses, and plans to start a program at the remaining campus, in Hamilton County, next year.
“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,” Sue Ellspermann, president of Ivy Tech, said in written remarks. “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.”
Ivy Tech administrators told an Indiana General Assembly panel on Wednesday that it had to turn down 300 qualified applicants last year because it didn’t have enough spots open. The General Assembly is considering a bill that would allow nursing schools to increase enrollment and hire more part-time instructors.
Indianapolis-based IU Health, with 16 hospitals around the state, said it made the grant to try to ease a severe shortage of nurses. Labor market data from Emsi/Burning Glass estimates there are more than 4,000 openings for nurses today in Indiana, with a need for another 5,000 by 2031, due to retirements, reassignments and other factors.
“Our health care systems in Indiana are in critical need of skilled nurses, and Ivy Tech is well-positioned to deliver on this need,” Jason Gilbert, chief nurse executive at IU Health said in written remarks. “…This partnership with Ivy Tech is a significant step toward expanding health care delivery for Hoosiers for generations to come.”
Ivy Tech said it 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.