ST. JOSEPH -- The College of St. Benedict has a new graduate program in nursing.

Students started in two new tracks this fall: Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing - Leadership. A master's degree in nursing will be offered to students next fall.

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The degrees will be offered in a hybrid format of online and in-person classes.

Dr. Jennifer Peterson is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Graduate Nursing Programs at St. Ben's. She says they did market research to see what demand existed for a graduate nursing program.

We also looked at what types of programs students would want to enroll in, and family nurse practitioner was the most popular program. We also saw a lot of interest in people wanting to go into an education realm as a nurse, whether it be as a unit educator in a facility or maybe working as a faculty member. And then, we also saw interest in leadership.

Peterson says the program may help fill a critical need for healthcare providers in rural areas.

We can train our nurse practitioner students to be more comfortable and confident working in a rural practice setting to help fill those positions and help patients in rural areas get access to healthcare. So, it's kind of a win win for the student that the job market is favorable, but also for some of these areas that are having a hard time attracting and retaining providers.

Graduates of the doctorate program may go on to be family nurse practitioners.

 

Peterson says the hybrid online course plan is designed for adults and allows students to balance school with a job and family life.

She says candidates should have a four year degree in nursing and a few years of experience.

 

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