North Dakota

The North Dakota Action Coalition is the driving force transforming health care through nursing in our state. Understanding that North Dakota has specific health care challenges and needs, we are working with diverse stakeholders to create and model innovative solutions with nurses leading the way.


If nurses are to be as effective as possible in helping to provide high-quality patient care in North Dakota, they will need to be better prepared as care becomes more complex and moves into the community. 


North Dakota has a number of career ladder programs that are designed to assist students to progress seamlessly from licensed practical nurse and to graduate study in a state characterized by long distances between cities. 

With the leadership of the North Dakota Nursing Education Consortium, we are continuing relationships built between all education programs and to increase availability of simulation technology to increase student experiences. Additionally, collaboration among the College and University Nursing Administrators helps to tackle cross-program issues such as faculty workload and student disabilities.
The University of Mary Emerging Leaders Academy offers future health care leaders intensive leadership development training based on the servant leadership and Leadership Challenge model.  Professional behaviors, ethical decision making skills, collaborative and culturally competent leadership competencies, critical and systems thinking and the skills needed to lead change are covered in a seven semester program.


Nurses bring a unique, important perspective to health care, higher education, business and policy discussions. Nurses, nursing education programs, and nursing associations should prepare the nursing workforce to assume leadership positions across all levels.



We are looking at our state’s leadership needs and focusing on developing mentoring/coaching programs and a statewide leadership summit.


We are using the Leadership Challenge constructs as a theoretical platform for our work. The University of Mary Harold Schaefer Emerging Leaders Academy will provide leadership resource and personnel to help integrate the Leadership Challenge model into our leadership efforts. We will examine leadership development for student nurses, front-line nurses, community nurses, advanced practice registered nurses, chief nursing officers and nurse researchers/academics. We will examine existing programs and design a mentoring/coaching program, as well as design a customized session at a statewide leadership summit to be held Fall 2013. 


In our rural state, access to quality health care is challenging. So it is important that North Dakota’s nurses practice to the full extent of their education and training. Our state laws support this, however, institutional barriers still exist. 


We will continue to foster partnerships with key stakeholders to ensure nurses practice as full partners with physicians and other health care providers. 

Interprofessional Collaboration

To ensure high quality, patient-centered care, nurses, physicians and other health professionals must collaborate in education and practice, and across all health care settings. 



We are building partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including physicians and other health providers, to support, spread and implement models of interprofessional collaboration in education and practice. In fact, multiple university and college programs have worked on interprofessional collaboration. For example, The North Dakota Area Health Education Center is a collaboration between medical and nursing across many different universities and health care facilities. The Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health Program includes medicine, nursing, social work, physician assistants, psychology and dentistry.


The advisory committee for the Emerging Leaders Academy is comprised of health care leaders from all disciplines.  This group continually reviews the program outcomes for the Emerging Leaders Academy in Health Care.  


North Dakota’s population is becoming increasingly more diverse, and many residents have unique health care needs. The nursing workforce must evolve to reflect these changing dynamics. 



North Dakota includes four American Indian Reservations and is a part of the Aberdeen Indian Health Service region.  Our state also is experiencing an influx of workers from throughout the United States and the world due to thriving economy and oil boom.


There are several grant-funded initiatives to address diversity in addition to strategies by our co-lead, North Dakota Center for Nursing. Next Steps provides career ladder opportunities and mentoring support for American Indian students. The American Indian Community and University Partnership grant is designed to follow Next Steps students into employment and through apprenticeship and supportive programs. The RAIN program at the University of North Dakota is working to increase the number of bachelor-prepared nurses. 


Students in the Emerging Leaders Academy participate in a semester of cultural competence training that includes culturally competent communication and an emphasis on strategies to better serve culturally diverse patients.


While North Dakota has been a national leader in nursing workforce data collection over the last ten years, continuation of data collection will need to remain a priority. 


The North Dakota Nursing Needs Study has provided a comprehensive array of nursing supply, demand and education data for the last ten years.

North Dakota also served a co-lead for the development of national nursing workforce minimum data sets. The Action Coalition lead is also the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers representative to the Interagency Collaborative on Nursing Statistics (ICONS) and is an active member of the Forum’s research committee. She is also part of the team that is fielding a national RN sample survey which is a partnership between the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers. 




Patricia Moulton, Executive Director, North Dakota Center for Nursing

Cheryl Kalberer, Director, Harold Schafer Emerging Leaders Academy, University of Mary

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