PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Independence Blue Cross (IBC) today celebrates the next generation of nurses with a recognition event honoring 20 student nurse interns who participated in IBC's Nurse Internship Program this summer. Now in its seventh year, the program offers two nontraditional opportunities to undergraduate nursing students: a behind-the-scenes look at the managed health care industry through hands-on experience at IBC and first-hand clinical experience at community health centers that serve vulnerable populations.
The event, Nurses for Tomorrow, focuses on how aspiring nurses will help shape the future of health care. IBC president and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty talked to the student nurses about the importance of nursing in a vastly new and fast-changing health care environment. KYW News Radio medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough served as emcee.
IBC has invested $10.75 million over the past seven years, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Foundation, to support nursing and address the severe threat posed to the quality and cost of health care from the growing shortage of nurses and nurse educators in southeastern Pennsylvania.
"Nurses are a critical part of our health care system, especially as they take on more and more responsibility in providing primary care," said Hilferty. "The next generation of nurses must have the tools, education, and especially the hands-on experience needed to provide quality care, but it's also important that they understand the role of health insurers and other key health care partners. Our internship program is designed to give them a variety of experiences so that when they graduate they have a better understanding of how wellness programs, quality initiatives, and health care cost trends are connected. With that knowledge, our nurses for tomorrow can make educated decisions about where and how they want to contribute their skills and talents."
The experience working for a managed care company outside a hospital or clinical setting is very different from other paid nursing internships, students say. For example, interns assigned to IBC's Baby BluePrints maternity program work closely with moms-to-be to provide information and support to help them stay healthy throughout their pregnancy. Other interns worked at community health clinics supported by IBC, which provides funding for 36 non-profit, privately funded clinics across the five counties.
Shawn McBride, a student at Thomas Jefferson University's School of Nursing interned in IBC's Medicare Case Management department, assisting nurse case manager with calls to older adults who need extra support to manage chronic illnesses. "Working for a health insurance company is a unique opportunity to learn about something not traditionally covered in nursing school," said McBride. "Insurance is such an important part of health care and something every health care worker should know about. This internship will go a long way in helping me in my future nursing career."
About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 73 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More information about Independence Blue Cross is available at www.ibx.com.
SOURCE Independence Blue Cross