DWU's Huron nursing program nears capacity
HURON -- When Si Tanka Huron University closed in 2005, many nursing students at the college were left wondering what their next step would be. But in a transition that Adele Jacobson called "seamless," Dakota Wesleyan created a satellite nursing...
HURON -- When Si Tanka Huron University closed in 2005, many nursing students at the college were left wondering what their next step would be.
But in a transition that Adele Jacobson called "seamless," Dakota Wesleyan created a satellite nursing campus in Huron later that year, giving nursing students an opportunity to continue their education on the same campus where they started.
Two years later, the program has remained strong.
For Jacobson, head of the DWU Nursing Department and a 22-year veteran of nursing education, Wesleyan's Huron-based program is an excellent way to combat a national nursing shortage.
"We're trying to meet those needs, and it's great that we could provide a program," she said.
The satellite campus has 26 freshmen and sophomores enrolled in a nursing major, with an additional five enrolled in general education and support courses. That brings the total enrollment in the program to the brink of the 32-person limit.
Capacity was reached in 2006, when 23 students were enrolled in a nursing major and nine were enrolled in general courses.
The first year, the numbers included 21 nursing majors and three students studying other courses.
Starting the satellite campus required some creative use of locations. Classes were originally held in the Huron Regional Medical Center, with many labs taught in Huron schools. Now, the former Fine Arts building for the campus has been transformed into the Huron Community Campus. Students now have a central location for their classes, and renovation on lab areas is expected to be completed soon.
"It's a great space for our nursing department," said Lori Essig, vice president of university relations for DWU. "They really do have their own campus home now."
Having the program in Huron means that many future nurses are able to spend less time on the highway and more with their family, Jacobson said.
That's a major plus for 31-yearold Angela Mausbach, a wife and mother of three who plans to graduate in May. She said it's important that her pursuit of an education doesn't take a toll on her family life.
"To spend as little time away from my family as possible is kind of my goal," said Mausbach, of Huron. "Not having to drive to Mitchell and be away from them any longer is perfect for us."
The program benefits not only nursing students but the community of Huron as a whole, Jacobson said. She said that the nursing programs in Huron have traditionally provided nurses for small nursing homes and hospitals in a 50-mile radius of the city.
The success is a return on the city's investment in a way, because private donors helped provide an undisclosed amount of money to start up the satellite campus.
"They really hated to see their community go without higher education, so they definitely partnered with us," Essig said. "They were very good to work with."
Jacobson said she's confident about the program's future.
"I know we'll continue to grow and ... provide nursing graduates that can fulfill the healthcare delivery needs that we have in our community," she said.