Updated: 01/13/2014 8:45 PM
Created: 11/13/2013 5:34 PM KSTP.com
By: Naomi Pescovitz
The University of Minnesota is expanding a nursing program that could help with an expected shortage of doctors.
The U of M School of Nursing will train 500 more advanced practice nurses in the next ten years through three year Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees.
The program trains nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists and other specialists. Graduates can diagnose and treat complex problems, and prescribe medication.
"We're going to need health care providers like nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists and midwives and so on, so yes, we are providing an important contribution to the health care work force," said Christine Mueller, Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the U of M School of Nursing.
The expansion was made possible by a $10 million gift from the Bentson Foundation which will offer scholarships to select new students starting fall 2014. It is the largest gift ever to the School of Nursing.
"It can hopefully be a good incentive to just give them that extra edge, 'Well I think I'll do it now, I think I'll go to school because maybe it can be affordable for me,'" Mueller said.
The program gives priority to students who want to practice in under-served or rural areas, where the shortage could take its greatest toll.
Alberto Villamiel is a DNP student at the U of M School of Nursing. He is studying to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
"I really do encourage nurses to go back to school, so that we can be educated and train the best way that we can target different kinds of patient populations especially those in rural areas," said Villamiel said.