From the NICU at Riley Hospital for Children to the surgery ward at IU Health Bloomington, University of Indianapolis nursing alumni are making an impact. Many of them keep in touch with UIndy School of Nursing faculty to talk about where their careers are taking them. Thanks to those wonderful connections, our UIndy family continues to grow.
An ongoing partnership between the University of Indianapolis and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) is expanding career directions for registered nurses. Rebecca Williams RN ’20, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree in the education track, recently collaborated with the International Children’s Advisory Network (iCAN) in the development of the iCAN’s first original educational curriculum.
Williams said the opportunity, which was made possible through the University’s partnership with Lilly, “really opened my eyes to the enormity of possibilities a registered nurse like myself is capable of in her efforts to improve healthcare outcomes.”
The curriculum Williams developed is focused on helping youth ages 8-18 learn how to advocate for themselves in their own healthcare needs, to tell their stories and to not be afraid to ask questions. In constructing this education plan, Williams said she was able to pull from her own experience in pediatric nursing and as a clinical instructor to come up with creative and fun learning activities for children based upon developmental stages.
The value of this partnership “gives students opportunities to make an impact in some of the most unique ways imaginable,” she said, adding that it “leads to many innovative creativities that are quite simply making the world a better place.
Williams had mentors both at UIndy and Lilly to guide her along the way. Dr. Tia Bell, assistant dean of nursing, and Dr. Karen Hirsch, assistant professor of nursing, have been supportive of her journey. Both Williams’s primary preceptor, Mary Short, RN, MSN and secondary preceptor, Jill Vaughn, RN, worked “to ensure fulfillment of all aspects of the Lilly Experience and success of my own goals.” Lori Wise, RN and health literacy specialist at Lilly, impacted the experience Williams had during the partnership by assisting her in understanding how patient advocacy impacts health literacy.
Jennifer Workman, RN, MSN, clinical research scientist at Lilly and cofounder of the student program, explained that UIndy students contribute a fresh, unique perspective to the work being done to improve the lives of people around the world. Working with Lilly presents the opportunity for students to learn valuable skills, such as how medicines are made, the role of the nurse in the pharmaceutical industry, and application of clinical and professional skills in a non-traditional setting.
“As a company founded on making life better for patients around the world, nurses are uniquely positioned to represent the voice of the patient in the delivery of new medicines and innovative solutions that meet their needs,” Workman said.
“Lilly has had the privilege of hosting a number of UIndy nursing students who have contributed to or delivered tremendous value-added solutions over the past four years,” she added. “We are excited about the success of our partnership to date and we look forward to what the future may bring.”
For Williams, the future is bright. Her career goals include continuing in the role of educator. She is open-minded to all opportunities that fit her strengths and passion towards self-advocacy for patients, and is thankful for the opportunity presented in this partnership.
“I can do more than to help just the patients I care for directly when connected to such opportunities in teamwork and collaboration as what have been provided to me here.”
University of Indianapolis School of Nursing online programs made the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100 Schools in 2020, moving up 57 points in the Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs category from 118 to 61. University of Indianapolis’ online programs are among more than 1,200 programs surveyed by U.S. News. Only regionally accredited institutions whose programs are offered mostly or entirely online were evaluated.
“We are excited to see the School of Nursing recognized as a top-ranked nursing school in the country, but our true accomplishment is knowing that, in a time of increasing health inequities, we are preparing nurses who have the potential to have a positive impact on their patients’ health and well-being by providing quality and safe care to all,” said Norma Hall, dean of the School of Nursing.
“It’s the dedication of our students, faculty, staff and alumni that make the School of Nursing an innovative, transformative and inclusive environment which allows students the flexibility to pursue an advanced nursing degree at their own pace,” Hall added.
The national recognition arrives amid the School of Nursing’s 60th-anniversary celebrations during the 2019-20 academic year, with a Celebration Dinner held in September that brought together students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and supporters, more than $27,000 was raised through the event, with proceeds benefiting scholarships for UIndy nursing students.
The 60th anniversary of the School of Nursing was also honored during Homecoming activities, including Founder’s Day remarks offering reflection on the school’s history, a Homecoming parade featuring School of Nursing alumni, staff and students, School of Nursing recognition during the Homecoming game, and special recognition of nurses during the President’s Lunch on the lawn of Good Hall.
Author and researcher Elizabeth M. Norman visited campus in November to host a discussion about her book, “We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on the Bataan by the Japanese.” This special event was part of the University’s Penrod Lecture Series, in conjunction with Veterans Day and the year-long celebration of 60 years of the School of Nursing. See more events here.