From establishing a nursing college to developing an advance practice nursing curriculum in all of India, the UIC Nursing's partnership with the Bel-Air Hospital and College of Nursing has been fruitful for both parties.
The partnership between UIC College of Nursing and the Bel-Air Hospital and College of Nursing, Maharashtra, India, has roots going back to 2004. Facilitated by retired UIC associate professor Minu Patel and Dr. Mehroo Patel, the relationship began as Bel-Air Hospital looked to establish an affiliated college of nursing. As one of the only hospitals in India that specialized in HIV/AIDS care, Bel-Air Hospital was well-placed to combat the extreme stigma associated with HIV disease, as most hospitals refused to admit patients known to carry the virus, and most nurses lacked education in HIV/AIDS care.
Two UIC Nursing researchers traveled to India in 2005 to study the feasibility of developing a school of nursing focused on HIV/AIDS care. This collaboration led to the establishment of the Bel-Air College of Nursing. Opening its doors in 2006, Bel-Air College of Nursing is fully accredited by the Indian Nursing Council and operates under the auspices of the Indian Red Cross Society with support from the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, the Bel-Air Benefit Foundation and the UIC Minu K. and Mehroo M. Patel Endowment for Nursing Advancement in India. Curricular development, library resources, and faculty exchange and development are among the areas supported by this collaboration.
Bel-Air College of Nursing has successfully graduated several cohorts of baccalaureate nursing students. These nursing graduates are committed to work as full-time staff nurses at Bel-Air Hospital and affiliated institutions. Their training includes comprehensive efforts to decrease the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, thus improving the quality of care provided to their patients.
The UIC/Bel-Air team has recently developed and implemented India’s first Master of Science (MSc) degree program in Medical-Surgical Nursing specializing in HIV/AIDS Nursing. The new master’s curriculum is the first of its kind in India, and will serve as the standardized curriculum to be used by any Indian college of nursing that establishes a master’s degree with an HIV/AIDS Nursing Sub-Specialty. The first MSc cohorts have also become among the very first advanced practice nurses trained entirely in India.