Avera announces new partnership in Pierre to support nursing education

PIERRE, S.D. (DAKOTA RADIO GROUP) - Pierre Capital University Center Building Avera Health, the University of South Dakota and Capital University Center have formed a new partnership to support training nurses in Pierre.

Dakota Radio Group reports president and chief medical officer at Avera St. Mary’s Hospital in Pierre Dr. Mikel Holland said Avera will partner with the University of South Dakota in sharing the costs for offering the local nursing program at CUC over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years.

"I think enrollment has been challenging at the CUC," he said. "The program was in some-what jeopardy due to the decreased enrollment. We really found ourselves wanting to collaborate with the School of Nursing to help ensure that that program remains in central South Dakota, remains here in Pierre at CUC. So we're actually collaborating with them to make sure the program remains and stays open and really I think trains nurses for our system and for the surrounding communities. A lot of the small, rural community hospitals in central South Dakota relies on that program to recruit nurses."

Holland said Avera has a long history in education.

"Remember, our founding members of our organization -- the Sisters that came to the central part of the state in the 1800s -- came to do education, ended up doing hospital work," he said. "The USD School of Nursing has a program here at CUC. The nurses and the nurse students have had a long collaboration with St. Mary's doing their clinical rotations -- it's been a good collaboration over the years."

CUC was founded in 1982. It has worked with all six of the Board of Regents’ public universities and is working on expanding to include partnerships with South Dakota’s technical institutes as well as with regional secondary schools.

The new partnerships would provide enhanced and expanded technical education -- under graduate and graduate level degree -- and certificate and community education programs in both face-to-face and online formats to service the educational needs of central South Dakota.