The IU School of Nursing is the only nursing school in the Hoosier State ranked among the top 30 nursing schools by U.S. News and World Report. (photo courtesy of Liz Kaye/Indiana University)

The Indiana University School of Nursing at IUPUI has received a $16 million gift from IU Health it says will help grow the school’s undergraduate student enrollment by 50% over the next three years. IUPUI says the funds will support expansion of classroom, lab and simulation space, as well as student support services.

The funding will also help with faculty and staff recruitment and education. IU says it plans to hire additional full-time faculty and create a one-year mentoring program to help first-time educators transition to the classroom.

“This tremendous gift from IU Health recognizes Indiana University’s leadership in educating professional nurses who will enhance the quality of health care,” IU President Pamela Whitten said. “I look forward to seeing how this gift will expand our program, and how our nursing graduates will help improve health in Indiana and beyond.”

Additionally, IU says the funds will help underwrite health research and initiatives and recruit researchers and clinicians.

The university’s decision to expand the nursing program comes amid the state’s nursing shortage, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know that one of the most beneficial ways Indiana University can improve health outcomes in Indiana is to produce more nursing graduates that will focus on the health of the people of the state,” IU School of Nursing Dean Robin Newhouse said. “Growing our program by 50% is not a simple task, but one that the IU School of Nursing is committed to seeing through to positively impact our state.”

Newhouse says nine groups of IU School of Nursing faculty, staff and students are working to develop implementation plans by the end of the semester.