Nicole Christensen, Essentia Health Chief Nursing Officer, addresses media at the May 10 news conference announcing the Essentia Health Center for Nursing at MSUM.

MSU Moorhead’s (MSUM) new Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) Bachelor of Science (BS) in Nursing program admitted 32 students in Fall 2020. This first cohort of nursing students plan to graduate in the Summer 2022 semester. 

“MSUM is committed to investing in programs that serve our students, strengthen our community, and meet local and national workforce needs,” said Lisa Nawrot, MSUM’s interim dean of the College of Science, Health and the Environment.  

The addition of MSUM’s BS in Nursing comes when, amid a worldwide pandemic, the region and the country face a nursing shortage. According to the U.S. Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast: A Revisit published in the May/June 2018 issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality, a shortage of registered nurses is projected to spread across the country between 2016 and 2030.

The collaborative efforts of faculty, staff and community partners have ensured a robust curriculum, state-of-the-art facilities, and outstanding clinical partners for students. MSUM is proud to be in the epicenter of high-quality, integrated health systems that serve the region with exceptional patient care.  

During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, we are proud to announce our nursing partnership with Essentia Health, Fargo, N.D. to support MSUM’s new Essentia Health Center for Nursing. This synergistic partnership ensures that our program will equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the nursing field. This partnership benefits both MSU Moorhead and Essentia as we share resources and expertise to make our region’s healthcare system stronger.   

“Essentia is proud to partner with MSUM in creating the Essentia Health Center for Nursing because it aligns with our mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives,” shares Nicole Christensen, Essentia Health chief nursing officer. “Ultimately, this partnership will lead to high-quality nurses being available to care for our community when they need it.”

“Essentia is proud to partner with MSUM in creating the Essentia Health Center for Nursing because it aligns with our mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. Ultimately, this partnership will lead to high-quality nurses being available to care for our community when they need it.”

–  Nicole Christensen, Essentia Health Chief  Nursing Officer

In addition, Essentia Health has donated beds, supplies and equipment to set up the learning lab on campus. “These materials help to make learning authentic and closer to what nurses will encounter in the workplace,” Christensen adds. 

One contributing factor to the nursing shortage is a lack of nursing school faculty. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s report on 2019-2020 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing shows that U.S. nursing schools turned away 80,407 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2019 due to lack of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors, as well as budget constraints.  

“We are delighted to enter into this academic-practice partnership with Essentia Health,” said Alicia Swanson, associate professor of nursing and MANE BSN program coordinator. “These partnerships have great value in the ability to share resources and contribute to a strong nursing workforce, allowing us the opportunity to provide real-world transformative education to current and future nurses.” 

Lindsey Werner, a sophomore in MSUM’s first nursing cohort, explored speech pathology before deciding a nursing career might be a better fit.   

“The faculty are so understanding and helpful, especially as we are progressing through a new program. All of the hands-on experiences with the sim lab and our new mannequins have been a lot of fun to practice on,” said the Legacy (Bismarck, N.D.) High School graduate. “The clinical experiences at Essentia have been super positive even in the COVID environment. The nursing staff show great teamwork and it’s great to see how nurses communicate with the CNAs and doctors. They have been super positive, welcoming and understanding.”  

The addition of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing builds upon the university’s rich history of delivering innovative and quality nursing education for the region. 

“For more than 40 years, we’ve graduated outstanding alumni through our RN to BSN program and the Master of Science with Major in Nursing. We’re providing educational opportunities for current and future nurses wherever they’re at in their careers,” said MSUM President Anne Blackhurst.  

The MANE BS in Nursing at MSUM is for students who are not already licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN). Learn more about all of MSUM’s nursing opportunities at mnstate.edu/nursing.