Minnesota State, U of M collaborating to address nursing workforce crisis

(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota State and the University of Minnesota have entered into a collaboration to address the growing shortage of nurses in the state.

The newly formed Coalition for Nursing Equity and Excellence (CNEE) will work with every school of nursing in the state, health care providers, and others invested in improving health care in Minnesota to increase enrollment in nurse education programs, expand equity in the nursing workforce, and increase the success of nursing students.

According to the schools, despite the increased demand for nurses at all levels, applications to some of the state’s nursing programs have been declining and some are forced to limit enrollment due to the inability to hire faculty.

“The need for additional nurses in Minnesota’s workforce is undeniable – in all regions of the state and at every level of the nursing career pathway,” said Valerie DeFor, executive director of the Minnesota State HealthForce Center of Excellence. “Our collaboration with the University of Minnesota School of Nursing creates a platform for all nursing schools in the state to work together and focus resources on this critical need.”

A major focus of the coalition will be on removing barriers to nursing education that have left the profession far less diverse than the communities it serves.

The Minnesota Board of Nursing reports the nursing workforce in Minnesota has 13.5% non-white RNs and 15.7% non-white LPNs, compared to the general population which was approximately 21.8% non-white according to the 2019 census data. In Minnesota’s nursing workforce, 9.8% of RNs identify as male, and 6.8% of LPNs identify as male.

“Continuing to do what we’ve been doing won’t address the current nursing shortage or the even greater one our state is facing in the very near future,” said Connie White Delaney, dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. “There simply aren’t enough clinical training opportunities, nursing faculty and simulation capabilities to increase nursing enrollment and there aren’t currently enough qualified students. This Coalition for Nursing Equity and Excellence, anchored in collaboration, can provide the holistic approach Minnesota’s health care system so urgently needs.”

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