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U of M and MN State collaborating to address nursing crisis

The universities announced they will be working together to "reimagine" nursing education programs and address the growing workforce shortage.

MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: The video above first aired on March 31, 2022. 

The University of Minnesota (U of M) and Minnesota State University are entering into a collaboration designed to address the nursing workforce crisis.

A new partnership called the Coalition for Nursing Equity and Excellence (CNEE), will work with nursing schools across the state to "reimagine" nursing education programs and address the growing shortages of nurses, according to an announcement distributed Wednesday. 

“Continuing to do what we’ve been doing won’t address the current nursing shortage or the even greater one our state is facing in the very near future,” said Connie White Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. “There simply aren’t enough clinical training opportunities, nursing faculty and simulation capabilities to increase nursing enrollment and there aren’t currently enough qualified students. This Coalition for Nursing Equity and Excellence, anchored in collaboration, can provide the holistic approach Minnesota’s health care system so urgently needs.”

The coalition's primary focus will involve bridging gaps that exist in the nursing workforce and removing the barriers involved in nursing education. The Minnesota Board of Nursing reports that the state currently has around 13.5% non-white registered nurses (RNs) and 15.7% non-white licensed practical nurses (LPNs). In addition, officials say that despite the increased need for nurses in the workforce, applications to some of Minnesota's nursing programs have actually decreased.

“The need for additional nurses in Minnesota’s workforce is undeniable – in all regions of the state and at every level of the nursing career pathway,” said Valerie DeFor, executive director of the Minnesota State HealthForce Center of Excellence. “Our collaboration with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing creates a platform for all nursing schools in the state to work together and focus resources on this critical need.”

Coalition organizers say based on pre-pandemic predictions Minnesota will need 23,000 new registered nurses (RNs) and 5,600 new licensed practical nurses (LPNs) by 2025 due to increased need and attrition.

"We need nursing faculty," said Jennifer Eccles, Senior Director of Nursing Excellence for Minnesota State and the Minnesota State HealthForce Center. "There's a nationwide problem out there that there's a salary discrepancy – between nurse faculty and being a nurse in the workforce – or a nurse practitioner in the workforce."

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