Dr. Joyce Krothe retires

Dr. Joyce Krothe retires after 34 years with IUSON

After 34 years of service Dr. Joyce Splann Krothe, Professor and Assistant Dean of the Indiana University School of Nursing in Bloomington, retired in June 2016. With an area of teaching expertise in community health nursing and a focus on community-engaged scholarship, excellence in service has been the hallmark of Joyce’s tenure at Indiana University.

Joyce began her academic career with an associate degree from New York’s Elmira College. She has shared fond memories of how she learned community health nursing while earning her baccalaureate degree at Columbia University in much the same way Lilian Wald did, visiting patients in the tenements of New York City. A job offer from Indiana University’s geology department to her late husband, Dr. Noel Krothe, brought Joyce to Bloomington. After completing her Master’s in Nursing Science degree from Indiana University in 1982, Joyce joined the faculty as a visiting lecturer. She rose through the ranks to assume the position of Bloomington Campus Nursing Program Director in 1991. A year later, in 1992, she completed her doctoral degree with a major in health policy. Joyce’s position as program director evolved to that of Assistant Dean in 2006, and she earned the rank of full professor in 2007.

Joyce has served as the president of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators and as chair of the Quad Council of Public Health Nursing Organizations. She has presented and published widely on community development models and improving access to care. As a co-author of the “Quad Council Competencies for Public Health Nurses,” Joyce literally helped set standards for entry level, advanced, and executive public health nurses which are used in both practice and educational settings.

Joyce’s expertise in community health nursing is far more than theoretical. Her proudest professional achievement was helping to found the Brown County Health Support Clinic in 1996 and serving as its director until 2007. Funded by Indiana State Department of Health, Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grants, the nurse-managed clinic was created to meet the health needs of the under/uninsured residents of that rural Indiana county. Unlike urgent care clinics, the Health Support Clinic focused on prevention and health maintenance. Clients were encouraged to make regular visits and frequently received prescription drug assistance. Initially the clinic operated out of nurses’ offices in community schools. After four years of traveling among sites, the clinic found its first stable home as the “log cabin clinic” in Bean Blossom.

The impact of the Brown County Health Support Clinic over its 11 years of operation was tremendous. At one point the clinic was estimated to serve one-third of Brown County residents who needed primary health care but could not afford it. It also provided a venue for community health education for our nursing students for many years. The clinic served as a model for nurse-managed clinics world-wide including being adopted by the International Council of Nurses in Geneva, Switzerland and the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region branch. Joyce served as a consultant to faculty at Massey University, New Zealand to help establish the first nurse-managed school-based clinic in the country while on sabbatical leave in 2000 and 2007.

In the years under Joyce’s leadership the IUB Nursing program grew from offering courses to small cohorts through the junior year to admitting 60 full-time students annually who could complete their entire education in Bloomington. In 2010 the campus added an online RN-BSN completion program through a statewide consortium. Understanding that modern methods were needed to teach nurses to practice in complex environments, Joyce partnered with the Medical Sciences Department to create a high-fidelity interdisciplinary simulation lab. The Bloomington sim lab is host to numerous disciple- specific and inter-professional educational activities that give students a chance practice providing care in a safe environment.

In the face of a national nursing faculty shortage, Joyce takes great pride in her small faculty and credits them with the campus’s outstanding national licensure pass rates. She has actively supported them as they pursued terminal degree resulting in an increase in the number of doctoral prepared faculty from 2 in 2005 to 9 in 2015.

The magnitude of Joyce’s service efforts has been recognized with multiple awards including the American Public Health Association’s Public Health Nurse Creative Achievement Award, the Indiana State Department of Health’s Rural Health Award for Distinguished Community Service, the Tony and Mary Hulman Achievement Award for Preventative Medicine and Public Health, the Indiana University Thomas Ehrlich Award for Service-Learning, the Indiana Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, Association of Community Health Nursing Educators, Outstanding Contributions to Community Health/Public Health Nursing Practice Award. At their 100 year celebration, the School of Nursing named Joyce one of their Legacy Leaders based on her tremendous contributions to the school, the profession, and the public.

Before retiring, Joyce completed one more act of service by conducting a large-scale community assessment that will serve as the basis for establishing an inter-professional project to meet health needs of residents in Monroe and surrounding counties. Joyce plans to travel and spend more time in her Colorado mountain home with her family and five grandchildren in the years to come. We thank this School of Nursing matriarch for providing the vision to help us grow and for setting an example of how nurses can truly make a difference.