Everyday more and more nurses are reaching retirement age in Minnesota and as they retire, the need for skilled nurses increases dramatically. Well-qualified nurses are in high demand throughout the state but nowhere is this more evident than in northwest Minnesota. The regional employment outlook is calling for over a 20 percent increase of nurses between 2009 and 2019. With the increasing nursing shortage looming in the next ten years, employers are desperately searching for workers to fill their ranks. Northland Community & Technical College is at the forefront of producing highly employable nurses.
“Nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care,” mentioned instructor Diane Scott.
Nurses comprise the largest single component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation's long-term care.
Northland offers several different nursing education programs from practical to registered nursing. “Northland offers mobility and portability,” said instructor Kari Koenig. “Students can step out and work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for awhile before continuing on to the Associates Degree (AD) program. Or, they can articulate directly into the Registered Nursing (RN) program. The Practical Nursing (PN) program offers distance education, and the AD program offers block scheduling, making it easier to adapt their education schedules to their work schedules. Both programs also offer part-time and fulltime options,” she added.
Classes focus on individualized education and hands-on training. Students can expect an 11 to 1 student to faculty ratio. These small class sizes are vital as they allow students to have open discussions with their instructors and peers. “Northland's program does an excellent job to help nurses learn to combine knowledge with practice," stated a Northland graduate. Caring faculty who are seasoned and experienced that come from diverse backgrounds help students immerse themselves in learning.
Students combine lecture and lab in a way that allows for them to practice what they are taught. Students will learn to make judgments in practice, substantiated with evidence, that integrate nursing science in the provision of safe, quality care.
Practical application is crucial when preparing for a job in the nursing field and Northland’s instructors are there to make sure you are on the right track. Northland’s nursing programs focus on quality and safety with the student in mind.
"I can't say thanks enough. All my instructors helped me obtain what I thought was unobtainable at times. I couldn't have done it without them,” added another graduate. Students can expect to be challenged in their education but faculty strives to prepare you for the real life situations that occur on the job. Simulated environments help the students to gain confidence in their abilities thanks to state-of-the-art labs and equipment.
Northland doesn’t turn away qualified students.
Northland nursing students take two periods of clinicals that are designed for students to apply the skills they have learned in a medical setting under the direction of a medical professional. Each clinical course is an application of the nursing process, documentation, and conceptual and foundational skills along with the role of the practical nurse in a variety of clinical settings with selected clients. The course incorporates health theories as related to the needs of the clients in the role of prevention, promotion, and restoration. “We welcome the students to gain experience and knowledge completing their clinicals in our facility,” said Sanford CEO Christine Harff. There are at least five sites located near the campuses that students take their clinicals at.
“Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls is dependent on having skilled nurses care for our patients in the many areas of service we offer. Northland Community & Technical College has been a partner in providing our community with the opportunity to gain the needed skills for nurses,” added Harff. It is no wonder why Northland’s nursing program has a 100 percent placement rate. “Northland doesn’t turn away qualified students,” concluded Scott.
Northland’s nursing programs are ripe with opportunity for people of all walks of life. According to indeed.com, the average RN salary in Minnesota is $73,000. Combine this with the nursing shortage that is projected to increase in the next five to 10 years, and you have a recipe for a vibrant and “healthy” career that starts at Northland.