The Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies announced a new partnership with Catholic Health Initiatives, the nation’s second-largest Catholic health care system, Oct. 24.

CHI, which provides free clinics, research, education and services for the poor, operates in 19 states through hospitals, long-term care facilities, assisted- and residential-living facilities, nursing colleges, home health agencies and community health-services organizations.

Through the partnership, students enrolled in NHS’s new online Masters program, Nursing@Georgetown, who are also employees of CHI will receive a 12 percent scholarship toward the program. In addition, nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and those with a Clinical Nurse Leader designation can apply to one of the online program’s four specialties.

According to NHS Dean Martin Iguchi, the new program will help Georgetown broaden its impact on healthcare in the United States through its online product.

“We launched our online master’s program in nursing in March 2011 in order to expand the reach of our campus-based graduate nursing program,” Iguchi said. “Our goal is to educate more advanced nurse leaders who will positively impact the health of their communities.”

In a Georgetown University Medical Center Oct. 24 press release, Kathleen D. Sanford, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at CHI, discussed the motivations behind the affiliation.

“Providing our nurses [with] the opportunity to pursue an advanced nursing degree from the nation’s oldest Catholic, Jesuit university will benefit them as individuals, as well as the patients we serve across our diverse network of clinical sites,” she said.

According to Iguchi, the affiliation will also positively impact the Georgetown graduate nursing program.

“Catholic Health Initiatives has a strong national presence,” he said. “This will further support the diversity of background and professional experience that our students bring to the learning experience in class-based and clinical settings.”

Iguchi added that CHI’s mission is closely aligned with Georgetown’s educational philosophy.

“We are proud of our undergraduate and graduate alumni who build their careers around supporting the common good, caring for the whole person and serving society,” Iguchi said. “We believe that our values-based approach will resonate with nurses at a mission-oriented organization like Catholic Health Initiatives.”

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