Rural Nursing Initiative

Rural Nursing Initiative Overview and Objectives

The DWU Rural Nursing Initiative proposes to increase the number of registered nurses and nursing assistants for practice in rural and frontier communities. The initiative develops several pathways for students to become successful employees as registered nurses or nursing assistants.

The program integrates recruitment efforts, including a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Program, simulation technology, specifically focused rural curriculum and clinicals, and integrated community experiences to increase the number of students who choose employment in rural areas while simultaneously ensuring the highest level of student preparedness.


  1. Provide a CNA Training Program with rural specialization to increase the healthcare labor force of rural South Dakota.
    • Prepare at least 75 new CNAs through the Dakota Wesleyan University CNA Training Program.
    • Provide an annual CNA Summit to recognize and promote the profession of the nursing assistant.
  2. Increase the number of licensed registered nurses in rural/frontier communities in South Dakota.
    • Develop an LPN to B.S. in nursing program with a rural focus.
    • Expose 48, 4-year B.S. in nursing students annually to specific rural nursing curriculum modules and rural clinical experiences.
  3. Increase the access to resources on issues in rural healthcare.
    • Develop a mobile resource center for rural nursing to include high-fidelity nursing simulation.
Stacey Patzlaff

Stacey Patzlaff

Assistant Professor in the Department of Nursing

Phone: (605) 995-2889