'Increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate or higher degree will significantly impact healthcare in South Dakota.'
Nursing education in South Dakota is getting a boost with two wide-reaching initiatives designed to grow the state’s healthcare workforce.
The first creates a statewide nursing agreement to simplify the process of transferring credits between higher education institutions for nursing students, according to the South Dakota Board of Regents, which authorized both moves.
The second initiative starts a nursing program at Northern State University (NSU) in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Statewide nursing agreement
For more than a year, the board of regents has met with the Board of Technical Education (BOTE) academic programming staff to explore ways to enhance their partnership and decided to implement a statewide nursing agreement.
The agreement enables nursing students to seamlessly transfer credits from technical and community colleges to South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota where they can obtain a bachelor’s degree.
"The goal is to promote workforce development in healthcare, specifically for registered nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which are critical for South Dakota's economic growth," according to the board of regents.
"We should applaud the technical colleges, university staff, and their administrations for their dedication to workforce development in our state," said Janice Minder, EdD, system vice president of academic affairs. "Increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate or higher degree will significantly impact healthcare in South Dakota."
The move also will expand consumer access to primary care through an increased number of advanced practice nurses and increase the critical faculty pipeline to prepare an adequate nursing workforce for the future, the board of regents noted.
New NSU nursing program
NSU will add nursing education to its offerings beginning in fall 2024 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
The move will offset the loss of a previous nursing program in Aberdeen—a region already experiencing a shortage of nurses—with the closing earlier this year of Presentation College, which specialized in nursing, healthcare, and liberal arts programs.
Graduates of Northern's BSN will be able to practice as generalists who can provide safe and effective patient-centered nursing care. The program also specializes in telehealth and gerontology.
"Rural areas of South Dakota help drive our economy and we recognize the importance of providing quality healthcare in those communities for the continued growth of our state," said Tim Rave, board of regents president. "Expanding this program is another opportunity for our public universities to help fill this essential workforce need."
Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.
A statewide nursing agreement will simplify transferring credits between higher education institutions.
A new nursing program will launch at Northern State University.
The goal is to promote workforce development in healthcare, specifically for registered nursing.