Little Priest Forms Nursing Partnership

Aug 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Tribal College News

Little Priest Tribal College (LPTC) has entered into a partnership with Briar Cliff College’s Department of Nursing that allows tribal college health graduates to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Briar Cliff College.

The two colleges held a signing ceremony in March 2001 at the LPTC campus in Winnebago, NE. Representing Little Priest were Ann Downes, J.D., president, and Dr. Betty Taylor Redleaf, dean of academics. Briar Cliff, a Catholic college in Sioux Falls, IO, was represented by Dr. Jack Calareso, president; Dr. Tom Boeke, academic dean; and Ruth Daumer, chair of the nursing department.

The colleges are working together to facilitate a smooth student transition from LPTC to Briar Cliff by offering informational sessions and a one credit hour nursing course at LPTC. “The BSN degree provides the students with a well-rounded liberal arts education as well as a substantial knowledge and skill base in nursing. These competencies are desperately needed by today’s nurses in order to meet the demands of their increasingly diverse and complex roles in health care,” said Boeke. “It is especially important to us that we are able to partner with another excellent college that has a tradition of meeting the higher education needs of the community by blending service and learning.”

Downes said this agreement is definitely a new and positive direction for LPTC. The tribal college hopes to accomplish two goals. “First, we are proud to form an alliance with a college such as Briar Cliff, which has a rich tradition in the health care field. Second, we want LPTC to be very proactive in meeting the contemporary needs of the Winnebago community. Developing a strong associates of science degree with a health emphasis will be a great step in that direction.” Downes is a member of the Winnebago Tribe who was raised on the reservation before receiving her bachelor’s degree in education and then her law degree. She has been president since June 2000.

Daumer explained that only 33% of the nation’s nurses hold bachelor’s degrees, and that number is considerably smaller (15%) in the local area. “Given the current nursing shortage and the health needs within the Native American population, this partnership is a positive growth strategy, which will benefit both institutions and communities.” Additionally, a new Indian Health Service hospital is being built in Winnebago, increasing the need for nurses.

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