Avera Medical Minute ASM: Avera St. Mary’s partnership with Capital University Center; attracting nurses to central South Dakota

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Nurses play a very important role in health care. That shortage is even more evident is rural areas like central South Dakota.

“We need to continue looking at how are we going to get nurses to central South Dakota,” said Karna Pfeffer, vice president of patient care at Avera St. Mary’s.

11 RN positions are waiting to be filled at Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre. That number will only grow as baby boomers retire and the need for nurses never going away. But as Pfeffer explains, the hospital’s partnership with the Capital University Center in Pierre is invaluable.

“Within the last five years, we’ve hired approximately 25 nurses through the CUC program -- so they’re definitely our pipeline of getting nurses to our facility,” said Pfeffer.

“We believe that the future of the Capital University Center is really going to be based on partnerships in the community and this is a perfect fit for us,” said Chris Maxwell, executive director of the Capital University Center.

Maxwell says the CUC’s longstanding partnership with Avera St. Mary’s will continue to flourish into the future.

“I think if you talk to anyone at Avera, and anybody involved in the nursing program, a large portion of those nurses that are over there in the facility today, whether new or if they’ve been there for 10, 15 years, many of them came through this program. To have that close relationship, to have the students and the teachers here alongside of those professionals in the profession practicing, and to be able to have that close relationship is just vital to, I think, the occupation as well as to us as an education provider,” said Maxwell.

“One of the things we talk about as leaders over at Avera St. Mary’s is we love to get those nurses in that have had their clinicals and their internships through the hospital so that they’ve already learned the medical records system, they know where everything is, where the supplies are and they have the relationship with the physicians and the nurses that they’re going to be working alongside of,” said Pfeffer.

As the Capital University Center and Avera St. Mary’s partnership continues to grow, the number of nursing students is expected to grow as well.
“I think it’s like any program, many of the students are going to stay, and live and work in the place they have their education. So as much as we can keep it here in the community and keep these partnerships with USD Nursing Program and partnership with Avera, I think it’ll help us attract, and retain and have more nurses in the Pierre, Fort Pierre, central South Dakota area,” said Maxwell.

For more information just call 877-AT-AVERA.