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Lake Superior State University Creates First Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program in the World to Address Urgent Need for Rural Healthcare

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To address the urgent demand for nurses in rural America, Lake Superior State University has created a Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program, the first of its kind in the world.

The 24-credit, one-year, three-semester program is open to all graduates, whether licensed or not, from any accredited BSN program in their first year of practice; taught mostly via asynchronous online learning of simulation and virtual reality; and folded within a 36-hour weekly paid residency at a rural healthcare agency or hospital.

“Six hundred, or 30 percent, of all rural hospitals in the U.S. are at risk of closing, according to the American Nurses Association, among other alarming shortfalls in rural nursing. Our new Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program is designed to help do something about this,” said LSSU Interim President Dr. Lynn G. Gillette. “Lake State is located in a rural part of the country, the Great Lakes region, and we have a responsibility to assist our neighbors. This innovative, transformative offering is the latest example of our partnership with the surrounding community on current and emerging exigencies, per priorities in the LSSU strategic plan.”

The Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program follows numerous other firsts for the institution. In 2019, Lake State launched the first cannabis chemistry program in the nation. LSSU also was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year fire science program. Lake State further was the first campus nationwide to offer an accredited four-year robotics engineering technology program and is the only university nationwide to offer undergraduate education in industrial robotics.

“The mission of the Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program is to provide graduates with tools to tackle issues in retention, equity, access, and diversity in rural healthcare settings,” said Program Director and Associate Professor Jaimee Gerrie. “This program will play a vital role in improving access to quality healthcare in rural areas and attend to the unique healthcare needs of these communities.”

“Part of LSSU’s mission is to equip graduates with the knowledge, skills, and fortitude to craft a life of meaningful employment, personal fulfillment, and generosity of self while enhancing the quality of life of the Great Lakes region and beyond. Our Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program is intended to do all of this,” said Dr. Kathy Berchem, dean of the College of Health and Behavior. “The nursing shortage in the U.S. tops more than one million and entails replacing retirees, countering young-nurse turnover, and filling other gaps, per data from the American Nurses Association. Our forward-thinking Post-Baccalaureate Rural Nurse Residency Certificate Program forms one response. Nurse residents build competency, confidence, critical thinking and judgment skills while coming to the aid of the healthcare industry.”

There are three annual entry points to the program.  Applications for the first cohort, to begin in May 2023, are currently being accepted. For applications and details, go online to lssu.edu/college-health-behavior/school-of-nursing/post-baccalaureate-rural-nurse-residency-certificate-program.