Purdue School Looks to Bridge Nursing Gap

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This spring's graduates from the Purdue University School of Nursing is part of the school's effort to address the state's nursing shortage. Last year, the school graduated about 100 students, a number that doubled this year. The university has grown the total number of undergraduates in the school from about 400 to 800 and Associate Professor Nancy Edwards says the decision to grow the school was the result of community partners saying they need more nurses.

In an interview with Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta, Edwards said nurses are needed in more than just hospitals.

"Nurses are in public health, long-term care, the community, the schools, so there's such a big need and we have approximately 1,400 every year and, at that time, were only taking 100 to 120 so we have a lot of people who wanted to come in and be students so we decided to double our admission," said Edwards. "We hope in the long run that we will be graduating about 200 nurses a year, which is up from a little over a 100 from what we used to have."

Jean Putnam, chief nursing officer for Indianapolis-based Community Health Network, says it is critical for private industry and universities to work hand-in-hand to train tomorrow's nurses.

"We can't do this without each other," said Putnam, who also serves on the advisory board for the Purdue School of Nursing. "We need to think about different areas that we're training nurses in, so that conversation needs to occur all the time to make sure that we are meeting the needs of the school and they're meeting the needs of the practice settings when the students graduate."

Edwards says the university's community relationships allowed for the school to expand its capacity. 

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