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UND RAIN Program to partner with Cankdeska Cikana Community College

Posted on 2/24/2011

The Recruitment/Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) Program, located within the College of Nursing at the University of North Dakota, is partnering to increase the number of American Indian health professionals in North Dakota.

The RAIN Program is part of a grant awarded to the O'Tanka Tewicahidapi (Treasured Elders) Program at Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Ft. Totten, N.D., at Spirit Lake Nation. The five-year grant - Next Steps: An Empowerment Model for Native People Entering the Health Professions - aims to create a career ladder enabling entry and promoting advancement within the healthcare workforce through a variety of options.
The rungs on the Next Steps ladder range from entry to expert levels: a) quality service providers with certified nursing assistant training, b) licensed practical nurse, c) registered nurse, and d) completion of the bachelor's degree in nursing.

The RAIN Program will incorporate a range of proven, culturally specific recruitment, retention, and mentoring strategies to assist the Next Steps project in meeting its goals. The RAIN Program is recognized as a premiere program for assisting American Indians to access and complete professional nursing education. The retention rate for RAIN nursing students at UND is above 90 percent. Eighty-three percent of RAIN graduates return to work in tribal communities.

There are 32,257 American Indian people in North Dakota, comprising 4.88 percent of the total population. However, there are only 91 American Indian nurses in the state, 78 of which have graduated from the RAIN Program. The number of American Indian nurses is insufficient to serve the state's Indian population.

For more than 20 years, the RAIN Program, under the leadership of Deb Wilson, program coordinator, and Barb Anderson, assistant program coordinator, has been providing support and mentorship services to American Indian students pursuing nursing degrees at UND.

The UND College of Nursing offers both undergraduate and graduate programs of study in nursing, including a BSN, LPN-BSN, RN-BSN and RN-MS distance delivered degrees, and undergraduate programs in dietetics and community nutrition.

The master's program, leading to a Master of Science degree with a major in nursing, boasts six tracks: psychiatric & mental health, family nurse practitioner, advanced public health nursing, nurse anesthesia, nursing education, and gerontological nursing. The master's program is targeted to prepare clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and nurse administrators. The focus of the masters nursing program is based on scientific knowledge of nursing practice and education through research. The College also offers a Ph.D. program to prepare nurses for roles as nurse scientists and faculty.



Becky Cournia, alumni & development coordinator
UND College of Nursing

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