MSU program could ease shortage in public health nursing
An instructor at Minot State University is addressing the healthcare needs of the region through her students. Healthcare is rarely taken for granted, especially in rural North Dakota where hospitals and clinics deal with nurse and physician shortages.
The Minot State University nursing department is doing its part in easing the nursing shortage by admitting more students. But there`s one problem. As part of the curriculum, future nurses are required to spend time with mentors in the field. And there aren`t enough mentors to go around.
"Maybe we could use our students as a workforce. As an untapped workforce to address some of those issues in our community," says Nikki Medalen, a public health nursing instructor.
Medalen`s students are working on a plan to create a health clinic on the MSU campus that would be run by faculty and students. They did some research and presented the idea to the university and public health officials.
"The results were pretty overwhelming in support," says Medalen.
The facility would address healthcare needs while providing real world experience for students. "The students who are working in the clinic will have true hands-on experience. They will have ownership in clinical experience. They will have ownership here on campus and the image that we give to the community," said Medalen. "When they can see their work makes a difference right away, it makes them excited about public health."
Medalen says if all goes as planned, her students will have nursing experience before they ever leave campus.