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New Nursing Program on Iron Range

Updated: 11/23/2013 11:18 AM
Created: 11/20/2013 1:34 PM WDIO.com

The Northeast Higher Education District (NHED) announces Iron Range Nursing (IRN) a collaborative partnership between Minnesota State University, Mankato, Fairview Range and Hibbing Community College.

This partnership will bring a RN Baccalaureate Completion program to Hibbing Community College (HCC) starting this spring semester 2014 as well as a Masters degree in Family Nurse Practitioner and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree that will begin Fall Semester 2014, also at HCC.

HCC Director of Nursing Barbara Bozicevich said, "This partnership will allow for educational mobility from the associate in science nursing degree to baccalaureate completion and onward to advanced nursing education, nurse practitioner (NP) or doctorate of nursing practice (DNP), while still living in Northeast Minnesota. This fact will assist in the achievement of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) mandate that by the year 2020, eighty percent of the nursing workforce must hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Currently, hospitals located in our region are principally staffed with associate degree nurses."

In Duluth, the College of St. Scholastica also offers several nursing program options, including an RN to B.S. program online. The Nursing School's dean says a combination of online and classroom instructions are available.

"St. Scholastica's nursing programs are available in online and hybrid formats that have been, and are, used by many Iron Range residents," said Dr. Martha Witrak. The school offers a variety of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in nursing.

The new IRN effort announced this week is being supported by the Iron Range Higher Education Committee of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). "This is a win-win situation," said IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich. "We are helping to create new educational and career opportunities in our region, while supporting the health care sector, which is critical to the economy and quality of life in northeastern Minnesota."

Additionally, Chair of the Iron Range Higher Education Committee Carly Melin said, "Like the Iron Range Engineering program before it, the Iron Range Nursing programs will provide an essential opportunity for students given the changing healthcare model for rural communities across Minnesota."

The exciting feature of these new programs is the career pathway they provide for working healthcare professionals as well as recent Associate Degree registered nurses who graduate from HCC. Deb Boardman, Chief Executive Officer of Fairview Range has these words to say about the program. "We are honored and excited to be a key partner in the development of educational programs for advanced nursing degrees, offered locally right here in our own region. This is so vital to assuring the ongoing access to high quality healthcare services in our area, and we are proud to be in on the ground floor and play such an integral role in helping shape the future caregivers for our area."

If you are interested in either the bachelor's degree or the graduate program offerings, please contact Terri Brandt at 218-262-6775.

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