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Release: Sept. 8, 2000

UI College of Nursing names Robnett as faculty practice plan director

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Nursing's new faculty practice plan has a director. Michelle K. Robnett, who holds master's and doctoral degrees from the UI and has extensive experience in health care administration, assumed her new post Sept. 1.

Robnett will organize and direct the administrative aspects of the practice plan and oversee its day-to-day operations. She also is responsible for marketing practice initiatives implemented under the plan.

Adopted by the college earlier this year, the faculty practice plan provides an administrative framework for individual faculty members to engage in direct patient care or consultation, education and management services. Income from the plan goes to the college to enhance its finances, with a share returning to the faculty members who generate the funds in the form of support for professional expenses such as books, travel, memberships and other developmental activities. The plan also is intended to give nursing students more opportunities to practice in community settings.

One initiative has already been launched under the plan. Home Safe is a nurse-managed service to improve health and quality of life for older adults. For an annual fee, Home Safe provides care and regular monitoring to help older people in their homes and ensures they receive nursing, health care and other services they need to maintain their health and live independently. Janet Specht, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nursing, chairs the committee that developed Home Safe.

Robnett returns to Iowa from Maryland, where she was an advanced practice nurse and fundraiser for the University of Maryland Medical Systems, and before that vice president for patient care at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She also is president and CEO of her own start-up business, Locum Tenens Medical Associates, P.C. Robnett earned a master's degree in nursing, an executive master of business administration degree, and a doctorate in hospital and health administration at the UI.

"I'm happy to be back in Iowa and to have this opportunity to build a practice plan to further the missions of the College of Nursing," Robnett said. "Iowa has some of the most progressive nursing administrators, faculty, staff and students in the United States. It's a pleasure to be able to facilitate the work of such entrepreneurial colleagues and projects."

Melanie Dreher, Ph.D., professor and dean of nursing at the UI, said Robnett's experience is a perfect fit with her new position. "With her background, Michelle will be able to start right in and help our faculty put their ideas into practice," Dreher said. "Having Michelle direct our practice plan means the college can look forward to providing even more service to the people of Iowa while strengthening our teaching and research programs. We're thrilled to welcome her back to the college."