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Essentia Health, University of Minnesota School of Nursing begin partnership

By Louie St. George III
As workforce shortages in health care persist around the nation, Essentia Health is getting creative and creating a nursing pipeline through an exciting new partnership with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

This is part of Essentia Health’s pursuit of Journey Towards Magnet Nursing, which honors health care systems for creating and sustaining a culture of excellence, “with contented nurses at its heart.” The partnership with the University of Minnesota is designed to be a nursing think tank and incubator for creativity and innovation to engage nursing faculty, staff and students.

It will foster innovative educational experiences for nursing students at Essentia; advance nursing knowledge to improve and support the health of individuals and their families; address workforce needs at Essentia by supporting a smooth transition of graduates into practice; and address shared problems as they emerge.

“This is a really innovative way to ensure we maintain adequate staff levels to continue providing high-quality care to our patients,” said Rhonda Kazik, Essentia’s chief nursing officer. “By sitting at the same table as the University of Minnesota, this establishes a critical pipeline, not only to address staffing needs, but also to ensure we have some of the most skilled nursing students working in our facilities after graduation.”

“We are very proud to partner with Essentia, which we know is an excellent health system,” said White Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. “The emphasis they put on nursing, nursing leadership, nursing science and innovation, their commitment to advance nursing within the system, and the focus on rural health are magnificent. We look forward to working with such an outstanding organization.”

This is one of many ways Essentia lives out its mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. It also supports the Journey Towards Magnet Nursing and provides another opportunity to bring high-quality, compassionate care to the communities we are privileged to serve.

Recently, Essentia Health-Fargo and Minnesota State University Moorhead also have forged a partnership that created the Essentia Health Center for Nursing on the MSUM campus. It includes a bachelor’s degree program in nursing.

Essentia has several other initiatives to attract clinical students to our team. This includes the Education to Employment effort, a financial-based incentive program that encourages students to complete their education in areas of high need for Essentia. Some, or all, of their schooling is paid for and they have a job waiting for them here following graduation.

We also have a partnership with the College of St. Scholastica to attract certified nursing assistant students and provide paid training to those students.

These opportunities provided by Essentia, as well as others like them, exemplify our investments in the growth and development of our communities and system.

“Essentia is continuously looking to enhance our team and address labor challenges that have existed in health care for years, but are now being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kazik. “We are proud of all of our initiatives that make it easier to go from college to employment almost right away.”

Published in Essentia

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