Concordia’s nursing program has been ranked number one by Registered Nursing’s 2023 Best Nursing Schools in Minnesota – AND, BSN, MSN.
According to the Registered Nursing site, “Minnesota is fostering the move toward a higher standard of patient care by encouraging advanced nursing degrees and professional development for registered nurses, and educational opportunities abound in the state for both new nursing students, as well as registered nurses (RNs) looking to advance their careers.”
“It’s very exciting and reaffirming to see the Concordia College nursing program receive the number one ranking for best nursing schools in Minnesota!” said Dr. Jack Rydell, interim chair/professor of nursing. “Each and every one of our nursing faculty, staff, and clinical instructors are committed to developing professional, competent, caring professional nurses for the future. This ranking tells us our hard work is paying off.”
Rydell said the department’s goal is to help every student be successful in Concordia’s nursing program.
“We are a relatively small-to-moderate-sized program, which has the benefit of enabling our faculty to really get to know each of our students,” Rydell said. “Being a relatively smaller department also facilitates communication within our department so we can identify when students may be struggling and need assistance or additional resources and support.”
The nursing department also has a number of resources built into the curriculum that provide additional resources to aid student learning and comprehension while also preparing the student for the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) licensure exam.
The COVID pandemic helped to highlight the increasing demand for nurses. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2021-2031 report regarding the nursing shortage which shows that the Registered Nursing (RN) workforce is expected to grow by 6% over the decade – from 3.1 million in 2021 to 3.3 million in 2031, an increase of 195,400 nurses. The Bureau also projects 203,200 openings for RNs each year through 2031 when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored into the number of nurses needed in the U.S.
Rydell notes both advances in nursing and the challenges ahead.
“Our healthcare system is experiencing advances like never before, but we’re also seeing an aging population with increased numbers of comorbidities and complexities,” Rydell added. “The acuity of patients being cared for by nurses in both acute care, community care, and long-term care is increasing dramatically. Caring for complex patients requires a very astute nurse with excellent assessment skills, critical thinking skills, and communication skills to name a few, while using a caring and empathetic approach. I believe this describes the nurse every patient wants caring for them.”
Concordia’s new Heimarck Center, which will house the Sanford Heimarck School of Health Professions, means new opportunities for faculty and students. Rydell said one of the greatest advantages the Heimarck Center will bring to nursing education at Concordia is the ability to integrate simulation experiences across the curriculum. Simulation has been found to promote critical thinking skills in students, helps students assimilate knowledge and experience, and provides an opportunity for immediate feedback.
“This all occurs in an environment absent the risk of patient injury,” Rydell added. “The ability to implement simulation scenarios with learning objectives that align with our course objectives will be invaluable for our program.”
As nursing gains in popularity as a career choice, Concordia will continue to be at the forefront of training nurses.