U responds to nursing shortage with new programs

Responding to a statewide nursing shortage, the University announced two weeks ago two programs aimed at increasing the number of nurses it trains.

Beginning this fall, the University’s Nursing School will expand its services to include an undergraduate program in Rochester and a postgraduate program on the Twin Cities campus.

Sandra Edwardson, Nursing School dean, attributed the nursing shortage in part to the increasing number of job opportunities
available to licensed nurses outside the clinical field. Nursing education is also costly, she said.

“Nursing education is a very expensive proposition,” Edwardson said. “It demands very high faculty-student ratios.”

Twin Cities factulty will teach the lecture portion of the Rochester class through closed-circuit television, while teachers on both campuses will lead students in the laboratory.

“The 30 students in Rochester and the 98 (currently enrolled in the program) in the Twin Cities will essentially be in class together,” said Faith Zimmerman, program director for health sciences at the Rochester campus.

Edwardson said she is confident the new programs are a step in the right direction.

“This is the first step in our ongoing effort to address the nursing shortage that faces not only Minnesota, but the nation as well,” she said.

– Brett Angel