Letter: Despite changes, UMN nursing school strives for diversity, inclusion

The school has put a strong emphasis on recruitment of diverse students.

The current layout of clinics within the Phillips-Wangensteen Building is not conducive for the workflow of physicians, residents and nurses. The University of Minnesota Medical School, the University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview will partner to fund a new site.

Daily File Photo

The current layout of clinics within the Phillips-Wangensteen Building is not conducive for the workflow of physicians, residents and nurses. The University of Minnesota Medical School, the University of Minnesota Physicians and Fairview will partner to fund a new site.

Christine Mueller

I am submitting a response to a recent letter to the editor, titled “UMN Nursing’s School Change in Transfer Option is Weeding out Diversity,” published in the Minnesota Daily on May 1.

The School of Nursing is proud to have students like Mara Smith express concerns about diversity and inclusivity.

The school strives to ensure that diversity and inclusion is integrated into the work, curriculum, experiences and lives of every student. Her concern expressed about how the transition to a freshman guarantee program for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing might affect diversity is a concern we share.

This is why the school has a strong emphasis on recruitment and admission of diverse students into the freshman nursing guarantee program and for 2017, 24 percent of the admission offers were to students of color and 15 percent to males. The deliberation and ultimate decision to transition to a full freshman nursing guarantee program on the Twin Cities campus and continue to admit transfer students to the BSN program located on the Rochester campus was multi-faceted.

Each year, the University receives almost 3,000 applications from students applying as freshman indicating nursing as their desired a major.

Our BSN program has capacity for 104 students per year on the Twin Cities campus. In the past, the freshman students admitted to the Twin Cities campus and another college “took their chances” and hoped they would be able to transfer into the BSN program as sophomores.

Obviously, most were denied, meaning students had to change majors, transfer to another college entirely or take their chances and apply again the following year, in many cases resulting in higher cost to complete a degree. Some were reluctant to accept admission to the University as a freshman without knowing they would be able to progress as a BSN sophomore.

In addition, because of the high demand for transfer to the BSN program, students accepted the transfer offer with a seat at the Rochester campus, but for some, being located in Rochester was not their first choice. Now that the school recruits and admits transfer students into the BSN program with location at Rochester, the school is getting many qualified and diverse applicants as transfers to the BSN program that are choosing the Rochester location.

We are particularly pleased that Mara Smith, one of our outstanding BSN students, is an ambassador for the school’s nursing freshman guarantee program. It is students like Mara, serving as an ambassador, who help us recruit diverse students.

Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN Professor

Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Long-term Care Professorship in Nursing

University of Minnesota, School of Nursing

Editor’s Note: This letter has been slightly edited for style.