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Program looks to combat nursing shortage

There's a new partnership between the University of Iowa and North Iowa Area Community College.

Posted: Feb. 8, 2018 7:30 PM
Updated: Feb. 9, 2018 7:16 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - For the past 16 years, Jamie Williams has worked as a registered nurse for Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa.

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But she says it wasn't easy to land her dream job.

"When I applied to Mercy back in 2002, there was two of us fighting for the same position on the fourth floor, so there was a high number of students and a low number of job openings,” says Williams.

Now, it's just the opposite.

Hospitals are having a hard time filling nursing positions.

That’s where this new partnership between the University of Iowa and North Iowa Area Community College comes in.

It’s being called the "RN to BSN 3+1" agreement.

"Because it allows the students that are currently going through the program to pick up those classes and to work towards their BSN,” says Williams.

Nursing student Dillon Smith agrees and credits the program for their hands-on training, better preparing them for the real thing.

"We have plenty of manikins and models that you can feel pulses on, they act just like a real patient and we have someone running the simulations in the background,” Smith said.

“They are very prepared to enter the workforce, and, as Dillon mentioned, they get the hands-on experience,” says Williams.

As for Smith, he is confident in knowing that NIACC and the nursing program will help land him a job in his desired field.

“People that I have talked to, as far as employers or managers or supervisors, even at the Mercy center really like NIACC students because we become familiar with the hospital setting and that hospital, in particular. So if we do decided to go to that hospital we will hit the ground running.”

The program will start in the fall and students who are in their fourth semester at NIACC who have a 3.0 grade-point average may apply.

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