New Program in Rural Nursing to Launch Fall 2017

RNURSING students on field trip
RNURSING students will join RMED and RPHARM students in Rockford for field trips like this one,
observing a training for first-responders to a tractor rollover on a remote farm.

The College of Nursing has announced the addition of a program in rural nursing (RNURSING) at its Rockford regional campus, home to the esteemed National Center for Rural Health Professions.

The program will integrate nursing students with those already in UIC’s rural medicine (RMED) and rural pharmacy (RPHARM) programs, also based in Rockford. RNUSING students will pursue a doctor of nursing practice, or DNP, degree in one of four specialties: adult primary care, midwifery, psychiatric mental health or family nurse practitioner. The rural health components will be interwoven into the curriculum.

“This program is a natural fit for our college,” says Terri E. Weaver, PhD, dean of the UIC College of Nursing.  “We’re committed to educating nurse leaders for all of Illinois, and 75 percent of the land area in Illinois is dedicated to agriculture and farming.”

Farmers deal with animals, animal-borne illnesses, heavy equipment and unique chemicals on a daily basis, says Kelly Rosenberger, DNP, director of the college’s Rockford campus. Add to that the stress of a livelihood reliant on uncontrollable factors like time-sensitive crops, weather and commodity prices.

“The health care needed to support rural communities is highly specialized,” adds Rosenberger. “We’re proud nursing will join UIC’s mission to formally educate health care professionals for these roles so they graduate prepared, not having to learn those skills exclusively on the job.”

The college expects to admit five students to the RNURSING program in 2017. That cohort will begin their studies in fall and spend four years completing the advanced degree.

Plans to expand the program to the College of Nursing’s other regional campuses in Peoria, Quad Cities, Springfield and Urbana are being discussed.