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DiversityNursing Blog

FNU Receives INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions HEED Award

Posted by Frontier Nursing University

Tue, Oct 17, 2023 @ 11:03 AM

Frontier Nursing University (FNU) has received the 2023 Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual Health Professions HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. health colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — FNU will be featured, along with 64 other recipients, in the November/December 2023 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. This is the sixth consecutive year FNU has been named as a Health Professions HEED Award recipient.

“Receiving the INSIGHT Into Diversity Health Professions Education in Excellence in Diversity Award is an honor that is celebrated by everyone at Frontier Nursing University,” said FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, CNM, DNSc, FAAN, FACNM. “We embrace this award because it acknowledges Frontier’s steps to prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at all levels of our university. We also cherish the opportunity to apply for this award because every year, the award criteria and review process challenge us to look at our successes, existing gaps, and opportunities for improvement. Our DEI work is essential to help prepare our students to provide culturally concordant care in their communities across the country.”

FNU has maintained a strong focus on increasing diversity enrollment and retention through a number of initiatives, FNU’s many recent DEI initiatives include the implementation of a holistic admissions process, the expansion of its Office of DEI staff, diversity training for all members of the FNU community, mentoring programs, an annual Diversity Impact Conference, the formation of special Student Interest Groups, and the establishment of a DEI Faculty Fellows program. Since FNU committed to DEI as a priority, enrollment of students of color has increased from 9% in 2010 to 30% in 2023. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded FNU the Maternity Care (MatCare) Nursing Workforce Expansion Grant. The grant period extends from September 30, 2023, to September 29, 2027. FNU will receive $4 million – $1 million per year –  to fund the grant project. Via the grant, FNU intends to increase the number and diversity of the nurse-midwifery workforce, focusing on increasing the Hispanic population of nurse-midwives.

“Frontier Nursing University is committed to being an equitable institution where everyone is respected, valued, and welcomed,” said FNU Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN. “Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are central components of our data-driven initiatives and policies.”

“The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees — and best practices for both — continued leadership support for diversity, and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We take a detailed approach to reviewing each application in deciding who will be named a Health Professions HEED Award recipient. Our standards are high, and we look for schools where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being done every day across their campus.”

Learn more about advanced nursing degrees and specialties at Frontier Nursing University. Subscribe to our blog for the latest news and events at FNU and to get inspired with stories featuring our alumni, students, faculty and staff!

Topics: higher education, Frontier Nursing University, Diversity and Inclusion, HEED

Day in the life of a UND nursing student

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Nov 01, 2013 @ 10:45 AM

By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald

She sets her alarm on weekdays for 5:30 a.m., and she jumps in the shower when it rings. She slips into her green nursing scrubs.

“I always listen to the 6 o’clock news,” says Amanda Lako, a third semester nursing student at UND.

From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., on a typical day she’s in classes, sometimes at the Public Health Department at the Grand Forks County Office building, sometimes at the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines at UND and sometimes at Altru Hospital.

In her rush for class, she might bring a baggie with dry cereal in it to eat. “I’m terrible,” she said. She depends on coffee to keep her running. And there are times when she is so tired that she sets her alarm to ring in eight minutes. She gives herself a short, short nap.

The road to a degree as an RN, or registered nurse, is long and challenging.

Amanda Lako is one of 324 students in the undergraduate baccalaureate program at UND. Lako is a junior in her third of five semesters. Beyond that, there will be a semester of practical work in a hospital setting before she graduates in December 2014.

She is passionate about nursing.

“It is a calling,” she told me. “Once you start it you know if it is right for you. There has to be a big desire.”

For Lako, that desire began when she was growing up on a farm near Arthur, N.D. She was 4 when she started shadowing an aunt who was a nurse. She had other aunts who were nurses.

She was smitten with nursing. As a freshman at UND, she became a CAN, or certified nurse assistant. And, she said, “I loved each and every one of the residents I helped.”

Her work as a CNA taught her how to relate to patients. “It was amazing to work on the CNA float pool at Altru. I worked on every floor wearing my light baby blue scrubs,” she said.

Her class of 52 has five male students. And Lako thinks it is awesome for a man to go into the career. “It takes the kind of men who have the biggest hearts and are so kind and gentle.”

In Lako’s mind, nurses are selfless. She admires people who have been her mentors including her school nurse, her church leaders. And she said, “Certain people just push you. I was adopted and I think I learned to be selfless from my parents.”

She isn’t always that serious. She works away at the pages of papers she must keep on patients. And she gets supper around 7 to 8 p.m.

Then there are the times in the evenings when she sits around the kitchen table with four other nursing students. They live together.

“We laugh, we sing, we complain. I depend on them to lighten things up.” 

UND’s nursing program

UND offered non-degree courses of study for nurses beginning in 1909.

In 1949, the first baccalaureate program in nursing was established and a Division of Nursing was created at UND. The same year, the State Board of Higher Education authorized the creation of the College of Nursing as a unit on campus.

The baccalaureate program was fully accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1963 and has remained accredited since that time, according to information provided by Lucy Heintz, clinical assistant professor and director of the Office of Student Services.

In 2013, in addition to the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, the College of Nursing was joined by the Department of Social Work and the name was officially changed to the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines.

Currently, the Department of Nursing has 324 students in its undergraduate baccalaureate program. The graduate program with 269 enrolled offers two doctoral programs. Master of Science degrees are available.

The graduate program has an enrollment of 269.

Source: Grand Forks Herald

Topics: nursing student, higher education, UND, nursing

The quest for 80%

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Jul 10, 2013 @ 01:39 PM

Susan Hassmiller, RN

Susan Hassmiller, RNhassmillerAmong the core recommendations in the 2010 report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” (, by the Institute of Medicine ( and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (, was for at least 80% of nurses to have BSNs by 2020. 

“A more educated nursing workforce would be better equipped to meet the demands of an evolving healthcare system, and this need could be met by increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN,” according to a Future of Nursing report brief. Nurses who have BSNs also are more likely to pursue MSNs or doctorates, according to the report, which would help supply much-needed primary care providers, nurse researchers and nurse faculty.

As of 2012, about 50% of nurses held degrees at the baccalaureate level or higher, according to a fact sheet from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Efforts to meet the 80% benchmark are ongoing.

The IOM noted a variety of programs and educational models can abet the process, including traditional RN-to-BSN programs, traditional four-year BSN programs at universities and some community colleges, “educational collaboratives that allow for automatic and seamless transitions from an AD to a BSN,” new providers of nursing education such as proprietary or for-profit schools; simulation and distance learning through online courses; and academic-service partnerships.

From 2011 to 2012, nursing schools reported a 3.5% increase in enrollment in baccalaureate programs, according to the AACN. Enrollment in RN-to-BSN programs increased by 22.2%.

The Future of Nursing Campaign for Action (, a national initiative of AARP (, the AARP Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has strived to mobilize diverse stakeholders in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to address the nation’s pressing healthcare challenges by using nurses more effectively and preparing nursing for the future.

“As I travel the country, I hear time and again that universities are working with community colleges now more than ever before to make it easier for students to transition to their next degree,” said Susan Hassmiller, RN, PhD, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The Campaign is providing the infrastructure and mentoring to help states with this work.”
Hassmiller said one of the most important policies in reaching the 80% benchmark is for hospital CNOs to specify that all new ADN hires must get their BSN within five years of their start date. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s effort intensified in 2012 with the selection of nine states to receive two-year, $300,000 grants through the Academic Progression in Nursing program. The objective of APIN is to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. 

The program is run by the American Organization of Nurse Executives ( on behalf of the Tri-Council for Nursing, which consists of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (, the National League for Nursing (, American Nurses Association ( and AONE. The $4.3 million Phase 1 initiative runs through 2014. RWJF will support an additional two years of work at the close of Phase 1 to facilitate continued progress by states that have met or exceeded their benchmarks.

The states chosen for the grants were California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington. Each works with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees. In particular, the states seek to encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make transitioning to higher degrees easier for nurses.

“The nation needs a well-educated nursing workforce to ensure an adequate supply of public health and primary care providers, improve care for patients living with chronic illness and in other ways meet the needs of our aging and increasingly diverse population,” Pamela Thompson, RN, MS, CENP, FAAN, national programs director for APIN, CEO of AONE and senior vice president of nursing for the American Hospital Association, said in a news release.

Everybody involved in the effort understands the challenges they face. One hindrance to meeting the 80% goal is “the barriers incurred by the students themselves, which include cost and family and life commitments,” Hassmiller said.

For the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's infographic on RNs' educational pathways, visit:


Topics: higher education, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, nurse education

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