Franciscan nurse intern

Franciscan Health finds internships, college partnerships effective in hiring nurses

Franciscan Nurse intern
Franciscan Health nurse Chris Royer, left, works with intern Elizabeth Gilmer, an Ivy Tech Community College nursing student at the Ortho-Neuro unit of Franciscan Health Indianapolis. (Photo provided by Franciscan Health)

Mishawaka-based Franciscan Health has turned to a proven strategy to fill open nursing positions.

The health system’s nursing internship program has partnered with several Indiana colleges to provide clinical hours students need and opened doors to graduates for careers at Franciscan Health.

Jennifer Olson, director of clinical education at Franciscan Health, said the pandemic has been taxing on health professionals, which has led to high turnover of new nursing graduates.

“A New York University study estimates that one in three leave their first job within two years,” Olson said. “It’s one of the most devastating statistics.”

Franciscan Health’s Nurse Internship Program provides students clinical experience as they complete their degree. Interns also are paid to work between eight and 12 hours monthly and receive tuition assistance for their last three semesters of their nursing program.

Partner schools are Ivy Tech Community College, Prairie State College, University of Indianapolis and University of Saint Francis.

“Ivy Tech is pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to our nursing students,” Jewel Diller, assistant vice president, nursing for Ivy Tech Community College. “The expense of attending college is one of the largest barriers that students face (and) with the majority of the last three semesters of nursing programming provided through the internship, participants can focus on learning and honing their clinical decision-making abilities.”  

Olson said the shock of acute care can be overwhelming for someone new to nursing, but Franciscan’s internship program offers an avenue to ease someone into the profession through a nurturing environment where they can gain confidence and experience in caring for patients.

“It gives the student a better grounding of what the profession is,” Olson said. “Our hope is that this opportunity gives students who may not have considered nursing a viable option, the incentive needed to choose this path.”

Despite the challenges, Olson said a nursing degree offers good wages and flexibility. Once trained, nurses can explore other paths including leadership, academia, sales and the legal profession.

Franciscan Health’s Nurse Internship Program is offered at Franciscan Health’s Indiana hospitals in Crown Point, Hammond, Dyer, Munster, Indianapolis, Mooresville and Lafayette and Franciscan Health Olympia Fields in Illinois. Spots will also open at the Michigan City campus by the end of the year.

To take part in the internship, students must have completed at least one semester of clinicals at an accredited associate in nursing program and at least two semesters at a nursing bachelor’s degree program; be currently enrolled in good standing; and be American Heart Association basic life support certified.

For more information visit the Franciscan Health Nurse Internship website.


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