SMU launches new nursing program




Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (SMU) plans to offer a new bachelor of science in nursing program beginning in fall 2021 on its Winona campus. The university is now admitting students to the program. 

The program is geared toward students planning to be on the Winona campus for four years, SMU Provost Brian Schmisek said. 

The program’s curriculum will incorporate SMU’s Lasallian Catholic character and be guided by the university’s mission of educating ethical leaders who serve others, Schmisek said. “We believe that empathy is and will be a defining characteristic of a Saint Mary’s nurse,” he said. The program’s curriculum will address topics such as ethics, research, pharmacology and the assessment of community health. 

Students will complete biology, chemistry and nursing labs in renovated facilities on campus. In nursing labs, students will work with mannequins that closely resemble patients in spaces called experiential rooms, and reflect on what they learn in nearby debriefing rooms. Students will also spend time completing hands-on learning in hospitals and clinics. 

Up to 40 students could be admitted to the program each year, Schmisek said. “And because we will have that size of a cohort, the students will really get to know each other and form a tight-knit community,” he said. 

The university developed the program over the last several years. “It really was an outgrowth of our mission and identity,” Schmisek said. “It played to a lot of the strengths that we have in the health sciences especially. And we saw a great need, not only here regionally but nationally.” 

Schmisek said he projects that students will work as nurses soon after they graduate. “There’s such a demand for nurses today that we anticipate these students will all have very strong job prospects,” he said. 

The university also offers an online program for registered nurses who want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing, and plans to begin a doctorate of nursing program in the fall as well.


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