Employer Partners and Sponsored SWIFT Candidates

Employer partnersBeginning in the fall of 2005, healthcare employers throughout Wisconsin were approached to sponsor SWIFT Nurse Educator candidates to achieve their master’s degrees in nursing and work in dual practice and education roles after graduation. During the initiative seven employers agreed to sponsor 40 employee candidates for the SWIFT program. Thirty-seven (37) candidates were actually recruited, and by December 2008, 12 candidates had graduated with their master’s degrees. Another 20 candidates are projected to graduate by December 2010. Five (5) candidates have dropped from the SWIFT program, although 2 of these are on track to graduate with their master’s degrees. Their reasons for dorpping from the SWIFT program were related to employer requirements for full time study, and these students had determined they needed to change to part-time study in order to succeed. The SWIFT employer sponsors are listed below:

Employer

Number of Candidates per SWIFT Agreement Actual Number of Candidates Sponsored
Aspirus Wausau Hospital
2 2
Aurora Health Care 10 10
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin 6 6
Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin 4 3
Meriter Hospital 2 1
Milwaukee Area Technical College 2 2
Wheaton Franciscan Health Care 14 14

Once they complete their master’s degree, these candidates have agreed to continue to work for their sponsoring employers, and to provide part-time clinical educator services for local nursing programs. In many cases, the employers will have an agreement with the educational programs to pay the SWIFT graduates their full-time salaries and benefits and provide release time for their nursing education responsibilities. The nursing programs then reimburse the employers for the time spent teaching students. In some instrances, the SWIFT graduates will obtain part-time employment as nurse educators separate from their primary employment in their health care organizations.

Sponsoring employers and those interested in being sponsor employers were asked to serve on the Employer Strategies Work Group which developed employer-related guidelines and strategies such as the following:

Development of a candidate recruitment toolkit with sample flyers, candidate applications, Q&A documents, candidate interview guide, and template for an employer-employee letter of agreement regarding SWIFT participation.

Development of budget worksheets for employer use in planning costs of sponsoring employee/s.

In addition work group discussions included handling of work schedules for full-time students. Such meetings provided helpful support for employers who pioneered a new concept in partnering with nursing education. Minutes from these meetings are available as listed below: