School of Nursing Gains Board of Nursing Approval

St. Thomas is one step closer to enrolling its first class of nursing students.

On Aug. 5, the Minnesota Board of Nursing voted to approve the School of Nursing’s proposed pre-licensure Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Nursing programs.

This approval represents a major step forward for the Morrison Family College of Health and its School of Nursing to start enrolling students for both programs in the fall of 2022, pending additional final approval from the Higher Learning Commission. The programs received approval from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education in April.

“I'm so excited to have successfully completed this chapter in the story of our school,” said Dr. Martha Scheckel, director of the School of Nursing. “I am grateful for the support the entire St. Thomas community has provided to get us to this point – it's been a huge team effort.”

St. Thomas and the College of Health have focused intently on developing the School of Nursing to help address the national nursing shortage. The proposed programs are also the result of many students expressing a desire to study nursing at St. Thomas.

Both of the proposed pre-licensure programs will focus on educating students to become highly skilled nurses who provide whole-person care. The School of Nursing will also provide a unique focus on community and public health nursing, in addition to acute care. The School of Nursing has set a goal of enrolling at least 30% of students of color and students from other underrepresented backgrounds in its inaugural class.

“I can't wait to see nursing students filling up our classrooms,” said Dr. MayKao Y. Hang, dean of the Morrison Family College of Health. “For a long time, a nursing school was no more than an idea at St. Thomas. It has been wonderful to see the progress the School of Nursing has made in a short amount of time.”

In addition to gaining this latest approval, the School of Nursing has hired four inaugural faculty members, and two key staff positions, including:

  • Heather Anderson as clinical faculty and simulation educator
  • Dr. Anna Kam as clinical faculty
  • Sharon Kopp-Huth as coordinator II
  • Dr. Raney Linck as assistant professor
  • Berline Pierre-Louis as clinical faculty
  • Victor Quiñones as nursing placement specialist

What is next for the School of Nursing? Before recruiting its first class of undergraduate and graduate nursing students, the school still needs to gain approval from the Higher Learning Commission. That process is underway, with a site visit scheduled for September.