UNI will offer a four-year nursing program starting in the fall of 2024 ( News Iowa )

University of Northern Iowa on Nov. 14 announced Nancy Kertz, executive director of nursing and chief academic administrator for the university’s new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which was approved Nov. 10 by the Iowa Board of Regents.

Kertz will bring 17 years of experience in higher education leadership and program development to help launch UNI’s first nursing education. His most recent role was as president of academic affairs and dean at Mercy College of Health Sciences in Des Moines. Prior to that role, he served as dean of the College of Nursing.


“The addition of Dr. Kertz to the UNI community marks an important milestone for our university as we seek to fill a vital role in Iowa’s workforce,” UNI President Mark Nook said in a news release. “Research also indicates that nursing is the most in-demand field of study among Iowa students seeking a four-year degree. We believe UNI is uniquely positioned to provide the combination of hands-on experience and curriculum needed to serve our state’s students and residents.


UNI plans to launch the program in the fall of 2024 with a cohort of approximately 24 students and plans to grow to a full cohort of 96 students in the fourth year of development, according to the new program proposal.


Pete Moris, UNI’s director of university relations, told the Business Record in an interview that the university is embarking on a new program to meet the “perfect storm” of an aging workforce, the fatigue of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for more university seats.


Registered nurses are the highest employed in Iowa according to the long-term development of the Iowa Workforce. However, data from the American College of Nursing indicates that over 8,000 qualified applicants for nursing programs in the Midwest were denied last year.


Kertz, who is a certified family physician nurse practitioner, said in the release that the national nursing shortage is increasing and affecting both rural and urban areas in Iowa.


“Having fewer nurses in the field means caring for more patients,” Kertz said in the release. “Continuing to stretch an already burdened nursing staff can lead to life-threatening conditions and other negative patient outcomes.”


UNI will join other leading universities as well as several private schools in the region by offering a bachelor of science in fostering program. The goal of the UNI program is to complement Iowa’s existing nursing programs by providing access to public school tuition for students who wish to pursue a career in nursing, a news release about the new program said.


Moris said UNI hopes to continue educating students who remain to work in the public sector.


“When the state of Iowa said, ‘Hey, we need to keep educating people,’ this is one of the places that brought back the values ​​of educating Iowans and putting them back in their communities,” he said.


The addition of the program provides an opportunity to expand UNI’s existing collaboration with Allen College in Waterloo. The two organizations are discussing potential models that could help train additional nurses in Iowa’s workforce, the news release said.


UNI will use existing facilities on its campus to develop the program and will invest $2 million in infrastructure and one-time costs to renovate the facilities. The budget will support the reallocation of existing resources, according to the plan.


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