DNP_July_2014_graduates-web.jpgFour practical nursing students of the Dakota Nursing Program graduated and received their nursing pins during a ceremony held Friday, July 18 in the Heritage Room of Mayville State University’s Campus Center. Graduates were Madison Amb, Portland, N.D.; Kristin Lee,, Mayville, N.D.; Shelby Lundstrom, Cooperstown, N.D.; and Elizabeth Blase, Westerville, Ohio. Nursing faculty member, Jennifer Moreland, RN, MSN, emceed the program. The Dakota Nursing Program is administered by Lake Region State College at Devils Lake, N.D.

The pinning ceremony is a tradition that can be traced back to the 12th century. Today, the pin is provided by the school of nursing to the students to identify them as nurses and show proof of their education. Before the day of the ceremony, the students were asked to choose a significant person in their life to whom they would dedicate their pin. Those chosen included spouses and a parent. One student chose her son. As each of these special folks placed the pin on his or her nursing graduate, Jennifer Moreland read the dedication from the student to the person doing the pinning. The pinning ceremony is very meaningful to nursing graduates as it is a true testament to their profession.

pinning-web.jpgThe students have now earned their practical nursing certificates and have been prepared with the knowledge, abilities, and skills to provide basic nursing care to individuals across the life span. They will work under the supervision of registered nurses, advanced practice nurses, or licensed practitioners to meet the basic health needs of individuals. Graduates are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

For the past several years, Mayville State University and Lake Region State College have partnered to bring nursing education to the Mayville-Portland area. Mayville State University offers the first year of pre-requisite courses in the nursing program, while Lake Region State College offers the subsequent courses leading to practical and associate degrees in nursing. These nursing courses are held on the Mayville State campus. The partnership between Lake Region State College and Mayville State University has allowed a number of students to earn degrees in nursing while remaining close to home.

Building on this history of collaboration, Mayville State will begin offering a RN to BSN online nursing program this fall. Mayville State University has been approved to be one of the few RN to BSN educators of nurses at the baccalaureate degree level. Offering a bachelor’s degree program articulated with associate degree programs is a logical next step for Mayville State. Mayville State University’s Nursing Leadership Program focuses on developing existing RNs who have two-year degrees, are currently in the workforce, and whose employers need them to stay working while continuing their education. The university’s purpose in doing so is to better serve the health care needs of the citizens of the state.

North Dakota is experiencing a nursing shortage. More than 80% of North Dakota’s 53 counties are designated as partial or whole county health professional shortage areas. In addition, there is a need for the nurses who are currently practicing to earn baccalaureate degrees. Currently in North Dakota, most RNs begin their careers prepared at the associate degree level. According to the 2012-13 North Dakota Board of Nursing annual report there are 12,810 Licensed RNs and 3,744 LPNs in North Dakota. There are 3,115 RNs whose highest level of education is an associate degree. Of the current practicing nurses in North Dakota, 53.8% (6,889) have yet to achieve a bachelor’s degree.

Mayville State University’s RN to BSN academic program is designed to meet the educational needs of adult learners, who need flexibility so that they may maintain employment while pursuing four-year degrees. In the increasingly complex and evolving health care environment, nurses with bachelor’s degrees are needed, but facilities also need these nurses to continue their employment providing patient care. In addition, associate degree nurses who wish to pursue the BSN face the common barriers of financial and time constraints. They need to continue their employment in order to support their families, and attending synchronous, campus-based classes is a significant challenge.

Mayville State’s is the only nursing degree program model within the state that accommodates the working RN. Rural health care facilities across North Dakota cannot afford to have their RNs leave their communities to partake in traditional nursing education programs. Statistics show that nurses who leave their employment or the state for educational purposes often do not come back. Mayville State University’s Nursing Leadership Program allows the nurses to continue working and take courses through a non-traditional model. The MSU completion program is a two path system. Students will be able to take three courses per semester, each in a five-week block.

 To learn more about the RN to BSN nursing program at Mayville State University, contact Shannon Skovlund at 701-788-5289 or, or visit Mayville State’s website at

For more information regarding the Dakota Nursing Program, contact Jennifer VanSteenvoort at 701-662-1644 or, or visit the Dakota Nursing Program website at

Captions for photos:

Top: Dakota Nursing Program students who were recognized in a traditional nursing pinning ceremony on the campus of Mayville State Friday, July 18 were (l-r) Kristin Lee, Madison Amb, Shelby Lundstrom, and Elizabeth Blase.

Bottom: DNP faculty member Jennifer Moreland (right) hands Shelby Lundstrom’s nursing pin to Shelby’s son, who in turn pinned it on his mother.