The University of Indianapolis Nursing Program introduced the first nursing minor in the United States in 2019, the major nursing minor. UIndy received a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in partnership with Community Health Network in 2018 that was to be dedicated to primary care in one way or another. A team of nursing professors partnered with the Community Health Network to create the minor. Among the faculty was Assistant Professor of Nursing Julie Blazek, who was hired as a faculty member in 2018 after previously serving as an Assistant Professor.
âI was hired specifically to help create this miner,â Blazek said. “I was an assistant at the time and I was the only faculty … which had experience in primary care or outpatient …”
Blazek said the development of the miner started with a concordance process. These matches include evaluating goals and topics within pre-existing courses and comparing them to the minor’s primary care goals and filling in gaps based on what’s missing, according to Blazek. The minor consists of four courses in total, one pre-existing course and three courses created for the minor. The three courses include; NURE 300: Roles and standards of clinical and professional practice in outpatient care settings, NURE 310: Information and communication technologies in outpatient care settings, NURE 320: Coordination of outpatient care and NURB 440: Outpatient care transition to primary health care for the population.
âThe main reason for this surge is that everything in nursing school is focused on inpatient and acute care, there is very little talk in outpatient or primary care. And that’s where most of the care takes place, outside of the hospital, âsaid Blazek. âSo the pressure has always been to have nurses in the hospitals, that’s where we need them. Well, now that the cost of personalized drugs is increasing, they are trying to get patients in and out of insurance companies as quickly as possible. There is a great need now for these nurses to be on the outside, now taking care of the patients who have been discharged from the hospital to prevent them from having to be readmitted for the sameâ¦ â
According to Blazek, each of the three courses includes 50 hours of clinical training, totaling 150 additional clinical hours on top of the core mandatory courses. She said each student is placed with a preceptor, who is a registered nurse working in primary care, who they follow up with and work with throughout their classes.
The School of Nursing’s assistant professor and undergraduate program director Karen Elsea was also part of the minor’s creation team and said that when developing the minor she used the scope and the American Association of Ambulatory Care Nursing Standards for evaluating the current program. and its shortcomings.
âAnd we’re using their scope and their standards to completely structure the classes that we have, three classes that we’ve come up with,â Elsea said. âSo that kind of reflects what they say is important in their practice. We’re just using it as a sort of guide for the whole miner format. “
Elsea said one of the things students gain from the miner is the ability to better understand chronic disease outside of the acute environment. Whether it’s a diabetic patient or a patient with congestive heart failure, seeing them on an outpatient basis is different, Elsea said.
âWhen they see them in this environment, they start to see what affects them in their home environment,â Elsea said. “What resources do they or do not have at their disposal in their community? What kinds of education do they really need in the long term? I mean, they’re in the hospital for such a short time. But in that environment that’s where you really make a difference, and keep someone out of the hospital or try to keep someone as healthy as possibleâ¦ â
Senior Nursing Major and Primary Nursing Minor Payton Kumpf will complete all four required courses for the minor this semester and plans to graduate in May 2022. Kumpf said the minor offers the opportunity to experience different clinical settings as well as more than one education by their preceptors.
“A great thing is that [the minor] shows me how many options there are in nursing. It’s not just hospitalized nursing jobs. But also, in the clinics, we got a lot of practical experience, âKumpf said. âMost of the time, this semester in particular, I was running around the office, housing patients, giving injections, and taking vital signs, just giving myself that extra handy practice. “
According to Kumpf, she worked in five different settings, including Stop 11 Clinic, Reach North, Internal Medicine North, an infusion clinic as well as a vaccination clinic. Kumpf said she chose to go into nursing because she ultimately wanted to help people. She said her experience in an outpatient setting was different from that in a hospital setting, as she manages to bond with her patients instead of trying to treat as many patients as possible.
âPrimary care is so, so important. We need people to go to their primary care visits so that we can prevent them from having even worse illnesses where they end up in the hospital in the first place, âKumpf said. “Primary care is very, very special and important, and I think this minor is going to prove it as we continue to move forward.”