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MVH Partners With Urbana University To Offer On-Site MSN

Program will allow nurses in Premier Health Partners to advance degree and career

Dayton, OH (January 26, 2011) – Miami Valley Hospital and Urbana University signed an agreement this month that will allow nurses within Premier Health Partners to pursue a masters of science in nursing without having to leave the hospital’s downtown campus.

The program enables nurses to get a master’s in nursing administration or nursing education by attending classes one night a week for three years. The hospital’s Center for Nursing Excellence recently made it a goal to offer such a program to help nurses better prepare for career advancement, but also to support its ongoing commitment as a Magnet hospital.

“Educational opportunities are very important in order for us to meet our strategic goals and to continue to provide an environment that supports the standards associated with a Magnet facility,” said Jayne Gmeiner, director of the Jerry Colp Center of Nursing Excellence. “This type of opportunity will enable us to fulfill that need and to provide a strong foundation for our individuals to succeed.”

A Magnet certification recognizes that the hospital’s nursing staff meets high standards of patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in professional nursing practice. Hospitals that receive the certification have a proven environment that empowers nurses, values their contributions and supports nursing leadership. MVH was first awarded the status in 2004 and has worked hard ever since to build upon it being re-designated in 2008.

The idea to provide an on-site MSN program was a natural outgrowth of that focus and was overwhelmingly supported in employee surveys. The hospital found that while most nurses want to advance their degrees, they find it hard to attend classes while juggling work schedules and family life. Still, any nurse interested in moving up into a management or nurse educator role is expected to have or eventually receive their master’s degree.

“At some point, we anticipate that a master’s degree will be required by regulatory bodies and we are trying to position ourselves and our employees for that potential,” Gmeiner said.

The program has been met with enthusiasm. Nearly 15 employees are registered for the program, and most already hold positions in nurse management or education. The program’s “user friendly” format – including open enrollment and eight-week terms – is expected to attract more students as the months roll on.

Nancy Sweeney, dean of Urbana University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health, sees the agreement with MVH as the perfect partnership. The Urbana -based college recently created its MSN degree when it saw that 20 percent of its graduating students were seeking to further their bachelor’s of science in nursing education at other schools.

The MVH program will enable Urbana to increase enrollment in its program while meeting the educational needs of the hospital employees. Moreover, Sweeney said the partnership helps the college meet one of its top goals: to help surrounding communities prepare for the increasing number of nurse managers and nurse educators nearing retirement in the next 10 years.

“We are very excited to be partnering with MVH to offer this educational opportunity to employees of Premier Health Partners, and appreciate their support in recruiting students and coordinating our on-site needs,” Sweeney said. “We anticipate that the current cohort of students will be just the beginning of our collaborative efforts.”