Rural Nursing option now offered at all campuses

RNURSING students on field trip
RNURSING students have joined 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.

In fall 2017, the College of Nursing launched a program in rural nursing (RNURSING) at its Rockford Campus, home to the esteemed National Center for Rural Health Professions. It's now available to doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students at any of the college's six campuses: Chicago, Peoria, Quad Cities, Rockford, Springfield and Urbana.

The program integrates nursing students with those already in UIC’s rural medicine (RMED) and rural pharmacy (RPHARM) programs, also based in Rockford. RNUSING students pursue a DNP degree in one of 12 specialties, and the rural health components are 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, director of the Rockford Campus. Add to that the stress of a livelihood reliant on uncontrollable factors like time-sensitive crops, weather and commodity prices.

“The healthcare 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 admitted six students to the RNURSING program in August 2017. They are expected to spend four years completing the advanced degree.