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Essentia Health, University of Minnesota School of Nursing enter partnership

The partnership is designed to be a nursing think-tank and incubator for creativity and innovation to engage nursing faculty, staff and students.

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Essentia Health says it is creating a nursing pipeline through a new partnership with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.

The partnership is designed to be a nursing think-tank and incubator for creativity and innovation to engage nursing faculty, staff and students, Essentia Health said when making the announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 16.

“This is a really innovative way to ensure we maintain adequate staff levels to continue providing high-quality care to our patients,” Rhonda Kazik, Essentia’s chief nursing officer, said in a statement. “By sitting at the same table as the University of Minnesota, this establishes a critical pipeline, not only to address staffing needs, but also to ensure we have some of the most skilled nursing students working in our facilities after graduation."

Aim of the partnership is to foster innovative educational experiences for nursing students at Essentia; advance nursing knowledge to improve and support the health of individuals and their families; address workforce needs at Essentia by supporting a smooth transition of graduates into practice; and address shared problems as they emerge.

“We are very proud to partner with Essentia, which we know is an excellent health system,” said White Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. “The emphasis they put on nursing, nursing leadership, nursing science and innovation, their commitment to advance nursing within the system, and the focus on rural health are magnificent. We look forward to working with such an outstanding organization.”


Essentia also supports the Journey Towards Magnet Nursing, which provides another opportunity to bring high-quality care to communities.

Recently, Essentia Health-Fargo and Minnesota State University Moorhead also forged a partnership that created the Essentia Health Center for Nursing on the MSUM campus. It includes a bachelor’s degree program in nursing.

And, it has several other initiatives to attract clinical students, including the Education to Employment effort, a financial-based incentive program that encourages students to complete their education in areas of high need for Essentia. Some, or all, of their schooling is paid for and they have a job waiting for them here following graduation.

Essentia also has a partnership with the College of St. Scholastica to attract certified nursing assistant students and provide paid training to those students.

“Essentia is continuously looking to enhance our team and address labor challenges that have existed in health care for years, but are now being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Kazik said. “We are proud of all of our initiatives that make it easier to go from college to employment almost right away.”

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