College of Health and Behavior

Rural Nurse
Residency Certificate Program

For Graduates from a U.S.-Accredited BSN Program
in Their First Year of Practice


Nurses are in high demand in the U.S.—especially in rural settings—for numerous reasons. The American Nurses Association indicates a need nationwide to prepare more than 1.1 million new RNs to replace upwards of 500,000 retirees and to meet other ever-growing shortages. Six hundred, or 30%, of all rural hospitals across the U.S. are at risk of closing. For 200 of them, or 10%, the threat is imminent.

Lake Superior State University contends with this urgency through its new Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residence Certificate Program—the first of its kind in the world.

In this competency-based program, BSN-prepared students receive advanced learning in critical thinking, conflict management, legal nursing, and quality management, plus ethics, leadership, and more. Nursing graduates from any U.S. accredited BSN program in their first year of practice, licensed or not licensed, can earn this important credential in one year through cutting-edge academic instruction and paid full-time employment.

LSSU devised learning strategies with working nurse residents in mind through a combination of virtual, simulation, in-person, asynchronous, and synchronous experiences in alignment with hands-on experiences in the healthcare setting. Nurse residents also are assigned both a nurse mentor and a nurse preceptor to assist in evidence-based learning and professional development.

LSSU’s Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program is a win-win-win for young nurses, rural communities, and the healthcare industry. By teaching four C’s – confidence, competence, critical thinking, and clinical judgment—the program provides first-year nurses additional skills to further their career. In the process, the program makes more and better healthcare available for rural communities, offsetting some of the alarming nationwide inadequacies. Plus, by increasing retention of BSN-prepared RNs and reducing turnover, the program responds to the nursing shortage throughout the healthcare industry.


  • 12-month program
  • 24 credits virtual/hybrid
  • 36 hours weekly employment
  • Fluid entry points three times per year: May, September, and January

Rural Nurse Residency I (RNRP 501; 8 credit hours): Nurse residents explore and utilize skills learned in undergraduate nursing education to examine their role and responsibility in the practice environment. Through the use of simulation and actively engaging assignments, such as nursing grand rounds, residents begin to strengthen their confidence and competence in practice.

Rural Nurse Residency II (RNRP 502; 8 credit hours): Nurse residents broaden and regionalize their ability to apply evidence-based learning to practice. Critical thinking applications become more challenging as resident nurses become more experienced. Professional goals are established and a vision and outline for a professional framework in practice are developed.

Rural Nurse Residencey III (RNRP 503; 8 credit hours): Nurse residents universalize and affirm their transition to practice. Program mentoring and learning culminate in professional service engagement and completion of leadership experiences. Disparities and risk mitigation in rural health are identified through a final capstone project demonstrating improvements for access, equity, and diversity.


Nurses who enroll in LSSU’s Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program: 

  • Perform at a higher level of independence and competence
  • Increase confidence in nursing practice
  • Enhance critical thinking and judgment
  • Gain leadership skills in nursing practice
  • Analyze nursing roles in relation to health policy
  • Promote altruism, human dignity, and social justice by improving accessibility, diversity, and equity of healthcare in rural communities


Studies prove that an unfortunate divide exists between education and practice in the first year of work for nursing graduates. This theory-practice gap causes new nurses to feel dissatisfied and, in some cases, underprepared. As a result, they may leave the profession. All of this negatively affects patient care.

In the theory-practice gap in rural healthcare, research indicates that BSN vacancies escalate; available services decline in quality and quantity; access to healthcare shrinks; health equity and diversity decrease; and closure looms for some organizations.

LSSU’s Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program mitigates these problems by providing new nurses indispensable professional development in severely underrepresented healthcare demographics: rural settings. RN organizations, along with other healthcare sectors, benefit from a more capable workforce and improved patient care. Consequently, the program also helps counter revenue losses and liability issues that confront many organizations.


Affiliates Who HIRE LSSU Nurse Residents                                                                              

Sault Tribe Health Division

Kalkaska Memorial Health Center

McKenzie Health System

Mackinaw Straights Health System

Munising Memorial Hospital

Munson Health System: Otsego, Charlevoix, Cadillac, Manistee, Paul Oliver, Traverse City, and Home Care


Michigan Works Association

Michigan Health Council

Michigan Health and Hospital Association

Michigan Nursing Action Coalition

Michigan Center for Rural Health


LSSU’s Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program will graduate registered nurses equipped to address issues in retention, equity, access, and diversity in rural healthcare settings.


to learn about becoming an affiliate.

to serve on an advisory committee.

to hire Lake Superior State University nurses.

to seek more information about our nursing resident program.

to schedule an appointment for tuition assistance.