A pilot program between St. Paul, MN-based Presbyterian Homes & Services and the Eagan, MN, campus of Rasmussen University aims to fuel the nursing pipeline by training practical nurses to work at PHS. 

Tuition reimbursement allows qualified PHS employees to pursue a practical nursing diploma at Rasmussen at little to no cost.

The program “align[s] with our care model, and their graduates fully qualify for licensure and are ready to work,” PHS Director of Healthcare Initiatives Kristie Moline said in a statement. “Not only will these students help fill a great need for practical nurses in our care settings, but with support and education assistance available from PHS, we’re there to help them achieve their career goals.” 

An industry survey found that 12% of Minnesota’s nursing homes are considering closing and 75% report not having enough licensed staff, as McKnight’s previously reported. Additionally, a recent survey by the Minnesota Long-Term Care Imperative, a collaboration between the state’s two largest senior living and care providers associations — Care Providers of Minnesota, the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living, and LeadingAge Minnesota, the state partner of LeadingAge national and Argentum — shows that caregivers in assisted living communities are “reaching their breaking point.” The number of Minnesotans turning 65 in this decade (approximately 285,000) will be greater than the past four decades combined, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center.

“Alliances like ours with Presbyterian Homes & Services are critical to addressing the demand for qualified nurses who provide elder care,” Rasmussen University–Eagan Dean of Nursing Sharon Oglesby said. “These relationships give employees an opportunity to pursue their education through Rasmussen, and then return to their facilities where they fill skilled nursing roles. It’s a win-win, and I’m excited to be part of the team to help make this happen.”

The practical nursing pilot program is an extension of an alliance between PHS and the university that dates back to 2009. The relationship was formalized in 2019 when Rasmussen began offering a tuition grant of up to 20% to PHS employees across all academic programs. Through the grant, PHS employees have graduated from the diploma, associate’s and bachelor’s programs in nursing, as well as the physical therapy assistant and healthcare management programs.

At its campus in Bloomington, MN, Rasmussen University is helping to shore up another long-term care provider’s workforce pipeline. The relationship between Saint Therese and the university began before the pandemic-related labor shortage, Lisa Kalla, chief operating officer for Saint Therese, previously told the McKnight’s Business Daily.

Participating students are part of the registered nurse program at Rasmussen’s Bloomington program, which includes campuses in Bloomington, Hennepin/Anoka (Blaine and Brooklyn Park) and Lake Elmo/Woodbury in Minnesota.