Reaching new heights in Rochester
Collaborations with Mayo Clinic, UMR provide rich learning experiences for students
April 7, 2021
As a certified nursing assistant at a memory care senior community Maksym Karpyak’s strong rapport with residents and families caught the attention of nurses, who encouraged him to consider a nursing career. “I like that nursing does a lot more patient-centered care, a lot more at the bedside. I really wanted to do that,” says Karpyak. “So nursing school was the next natural step.”
When he learned about the University of Minnesota nursing program on the Rochester campus, it met all his requirements. He wanted to earn a four-year nursing degree, which wasn’t offered at the community college where he had completed a few courses, and he needed to stay close to Rochester, as his wife and children live in nearby Plainview. “It was perfect,” says Karpyak.
The School of Nursing program is unique in that while it is offered through the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, students attend classes and clinicals in Rochester. The school’s success in Rochester is testament to the strong partners it has in Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR).
In addition to providing the physical space for nursing students to attend classes and labs, UMR and the School of Nursing collaborate to offer an Early Assurance Nursing option, which guarantees students at UMR entry into the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities nursing program. Students who are accepted through the Early Assurance Nursing option complete their first year of courses at UMR and in their sophomore year they begin the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program and remain on the Rochester campus. UMR and the School of Nursing have also collaborated to offer UMR students an early decision for admission to the School of Nursing’s Master of Nursing program. “The Early Decision and Early Assurance options support students who are committed to a career in nursing and enables both the School of Nursing and UMR to meet the significant nursing workforce needs for Minnesota,” says Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, senior executive associate dean for academic programs for the School of Nursing.
Innovation comes from collaboration with Mayo Clinic
Students enrolled in the BSN program in Rochester begin their clinical education in their junior year, and being in Rochester means nearly all of their clinical learning takes place at the renowned Mayo Clinic. “It’s fantastic,” says Karpyak, who is now a senior. “They’re all about training doctors, training nurses, training other health care professionals so they provide the best care to patients. Everything really revolves around that, and it’s a very good learning atmosphere.”
Several years ago, Mayo Clinic sought schools of nursing who were seeking to use a dedicated education unit (DEU) model in ambulatory care. The School of Nursing stepped up to partner. Now in its second year, the collaboration is the first time a DEU was used in ambulatory care, an innovation the School of Nursing and Mayo Clinic plan to disseminate.
“The literature describes more and more experts who are calling for the preparation of nurses to work in ambulatory care and, specifically in primary care. Primary care has a critical role in providing comprehensive care and coordination of services across specialties over the lifespan. Registered nurses have the education and skills to contribute significantly,” says Mayo Clinic Nurse Administrator Stephanie Witwer, PhD, who was key in establishing the DEU. “This is a way to marry the expertise of the clinical practice area with the expertise of the faculty and the School of Nursing and be able to put something together that is unique and really benefits our students and in the long run benefits our communities.”
The DEU enables students to learn from clinical nurse teachers, who are Mayo Clinic nurses who have specialized training in teaching nursing students.
Brianna Kubat, a family medicine nurse at Mayo Clinic, volunteered for the opportunity to be a clinical nurse teacher because she didn’t have the opportunity to experience the ambulatory setting when she attended nursing school. “I’ve learned I really like working one-on-one with students. It’s been nice to broaden their horizon,” says Kubat.
As a clinical nurse teacher, she’ll review the day’s schedule to determine which patient visits will provide the best learning opportunities for students. Prior to a patient visit, she reviews the reason for the visit with the student and looks at pathophysiology and relates it back to what students learned in the classroom. “We start asking questions and you can see the gears turning and piecing things together,” says Kubat.
After observing her clinical nurse teacher with patients, she was able to perform them herself as the nurse supervised.As a senior, Alexis Amoako looked forward to her internal medicine unit assignment in Mayo Clinic’s Baldwin Building, as primary care was a setting she was familiar with even before starting nursing school. Experiencing the clinic as a nursing student provided a deeper understanding of the depth of a patient visit, from welcoming the patient and taking vitals to communicating with the other health professionals to provide seamless care.
“It has been truly an enriching experience being able to witness how the nurses navigated their day-to-day and having the opportunity to not only learn but also apply information from the clinic and my time as a nursing student,” says Amoako.
Karpyak, who enrolled in the BSN program so he could stay close to home, hopes his experiences at Mayo continue after he graduates in the spring. “There are so many different departments, and so many different specialties and advanced procedures that you wouldn’t necessarily see in other places,” says Karpyak. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”