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Otto Bremer Foundation award supports nursing education at LRSC

By   Erin Wood
05 /28/2014

A $250,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation will enhance nursing education at Lake Region State College.

Funds from the award will support “Upwards with Learning Labs for Life” that will enable Lake Region State College to provide accessible, timely, and appropriate clinical educational opportunities for healthcare students and workers in the northeast quadrant of North Dakota.

“These funds will strengthen clinical lab capabilities on LRSC’s Devils Lake campus for all of its nursing students and skilled healthcare professionals it serves in the region,” said Karen Clementich, coordinator of LRSC’s Nursing Program.

Lake Region State College currently is enhancing physical space where student nurses attend class and conduct lab activities. 

The equipment purchased through the Otto Bremer Grant funds will allow for improved classroom instruction and aid with discussing and demonstrating hands on skills used with clinical practice. Access to this new equipment allows LRSC to respond to regional and state healthcare industry needs, Clementich said.  

The 2013 ND Hospital Survey Report, completed this spring by the ND Center for Nursing, had found rural LPNs have the highest vacancy rate in nursing in our state.  LRSC is one of nine practical nurse programs in North Dakota and serves a significant portion of the state and recently announced expansion of its practical nurse program to Grand Forks.

Lake Region State College lives its mission, placing priority on serving the educational needs of those who live and work in this rural state. As a partner in the Dakota Nursing Program, LRSC provides access into career ladder opportunities for place bound certified nurse assistants (CNA) to become licensed practical nurses (LPN), and LPN’s to become Registered Nurses (RN).  The program utilizes Interactive Video Network (IVN) for many courses and local faculty for the lab and clinical courses.  Each career step enables students to attain their nursing career goal while staying and working in medically underserved communities.  Lake Region State College is currently approved by the ND Board of Nursing to educate nurses at the Mayville State University distance site and will this fall begin delivering practical nurse education in Grand Forks.  These distance locations have support from the local medical facilities where the program is housed.   An articulation agreement is in place with Minot State University and the University Of North Dakota College of Nursing so that the Dakota Nursing Program (associate degree) students have a smooth transition into the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program 

LRSC’s successful nursing program is impacting healthcare shortage for nursing across the state, as the vast majority of graduates find jobs in North Dakota. From 2006 to 2011, more than 88 percent of LRSC nursing graduates took jobs in North Dakota, often in rural communities who nurse shortages are especially acute.  Of the 2011-2012 graduates, 100 percent of the Associated Degree Registered Nurse (ADRN) students were employed with 1/5 of the class seeking further education. The same year the entire graduating class of LPNS secured employment with 11 of the 15 students seeking further education. 

Adequate space and equipment will also impact enrollments, said Dr. Doug Darling, president of LRSC.

“Educational materials funded through this grant will allow LRSC to respond to the healthcare industry serving northeastern North Dakota by allowing LRSC to enroll more nursing students and move forward with additional new programs in the healthcare arena,” he said.  

The college’s nursing and certified nurse assistant program is located in the college’s Technical Center, currently under expansion and renovation. The Technical Center Expansion, which is funded through a $5.6 million state legislative appropriation creates essential learning space for nursing and other technical programs. However, funds still are required for additional equipment and technology needs in this learning space. The Community College Foundation, which supports LRSC, is in the middle of a $2 million dollar campaign, which will allow the college foundation to claim an additional $1 million in qualifying matching funds set aside by the state of North Dakota.  

“Much of the funding being raised will be used to enhance learning (in addition to the renovations and construction) carried out at our Technical Education Center with optimal equipment and technology,” said Jeff Wahl, president of the Community College Foundation.  Gifts of $250,000 or greater create the opportunity to name a wing of the building. 
“The Tech Center project is exciting and students will be really delighted with the new and improved classrooms that will greet students next fall,” he added.

About the Otto Bremer Foundation
Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. This mission is based on the intent of founder Otto Bremer. His vision and longstanding commitment to communities during and after the Great Depression are carried forward today through the Foundation’s work in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities—communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone's reach. The Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank, and receives an equivalent share of the bank profits that are paid out as dividends. This means that a large portion of bank profit is invested back in local communities through grants and program-related investments. In 2013 the Foundation provided approximately $38 million in grants and program-related investments.

About Lake Region State College
Established in 1941, Lake Region State College is a comprehensive community college that offers career and technical programs, business programs, and associate arts (transfer) degree for those planning to transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree. Besides offering courses and degrees in Devils Lake, LRSC offers peace officer training in Minot each spring, Grand Forks and Fargo each summer; nursing in Mayville.  LRSC is part of the Grand Forks Air Force Base Education Center, has a program called LAUNCH! that serves students in Grand Forks planning on transferring to UND, online courses and degrees, and early entry and dual credit courses for eligible high school students.