From The Desk of Dean Shannon

Greetings Bobcat Nurses and Friends! I started my deanship August 2017 and have wondered if my feet have simultaneously touched the ground over the ensuing 16 months. Accreditation During 2018, the College prepared for our national CCNE accreditation site visit on October 15-17, 2018. We will receive the final report from CCNE May 2019. There was probably no better way to truly learn the College than to dig into the nuts and bolts of accreditation. MSU 125th Birthday Montana State University celebrated its 125th birthday. The College of Nursing’s assigned celebration month was May and we kicked it off with Dr. Kristen Swanson, whose scholarship on caring theory has produced evidence-based change in healthcare, speaking at the May 2018 Pinning ceremony. Grant Funding The College of Nursing has deepened its collaborations across Montana and the West resulting in two multi-million dollar federal HRSA grants. These awards help the College to innovate its educational mission, provide critical support for students, and strengthen clinical partnerships. Outstanding Graduates The College of Nursing now educates 256 BSN nurses annually and in 2018 admitted ten Master’s students focused on rural clinical nurse leadership and over 30 Doctor of Nursing Practice students. The College of Nursing is committed to meeting Montana’s need for BSN, MN and DNP-prepared nurses.

Go Cats! Sarah

Leading Through Innovation

Dr. Paul Krogue is a faculty member located on our Great Falls Campus.

Recently the CON began experimenting with a new teaching format: CATS courses! Short for Coordinating Across Teaching Sites, CATS courses are designed to take advantage of two unique aspects of the MSU CON: five campuses and a seminar/lab component associated with many lecture courses. CATS courses take advantage of unique or specialized faculty expertise across the CON to provide content either synchronously or asynchronously, coupled with face-to-face active learning on each campus in small groups of 8-20 students. Dr. Paul Krogue was approached to try this new teaching format, and away he ran! Paul and other faculty in the CON participated in a specially designed faculty development opportunity during summer 2018 to learn best practices in on-line education, techniques for web-based learning platforms, and strategies for improving student success and faculty presence in distance education. Paul then worked with Dr. Janice Hausauer to transform the undergraduate health assessment course to amplify his expertise as an acute care nurse practitioner and Janice’s expertise as a family nurse practitioner. BSN students across the CON are now exposed to Paul’s infectious love of pathophysiology before digging into active learning experiences to solidify their knowledge of health assessment. Paul is a BSN graduate of MSU and received his DNP from the University of Arizona. When not figuring out the next best way to teach nursing, Paul can be found with his family in Great Falls.

Paul with his family enjoying Montana!

Allyssa Rizzo: A true champ!

“The opportunity to pursue nursing while being a collegiate student-athlete is one I am incredibly grateful for. Although scheduling can be quite difficult as they are both programs of high demand and expectation, with the support of the College of Nursing and Montana State Athletics I am able to work at my future career of becoming a nurse while still enjoying the present by playing the sport I love. Through this process I am learning how to communicate effectively, how to be a better leader and teammate, and how to persevere even when things get tough, which are all qualities that will hopefully help me to provide the best care possible to my future patients while being an ideal co-worker when I become a nurse."

-Allyssa Rizzo

MSU Volleyball Champ Allyssa Rizzo. She attends nursing school on the Bozeman campus.

Academic and Athletic Balance

A junior in the BSN program on the CON Bozeman campus, Allyssa Rizzo is also a star player on the MSU women’s volleyball team. Allyssa grew up in Crestwood, Illinois and came to MSU to pursue her dual passions. She is already one of the all-time greats in Bobcat volleyball history. Allyssa became just the ninth member of MSU’s prestigious 1,000-Dig Club when she posted 23 saves in early September. She smashed the all-time MSU single-season digs record finishing the 2018 season with 624 digs, 110 more than the former record! In her three seasons Allyssa has posted 1,468 career digs, which is the fourth all-time MSU record. Her 2018 record in digs made her tops in the Big Sky Conference and ranked her 13th overall in NCAA Division I. Allyssa was named Second-Team All-Big Sky Conference, Montana State’s first all-conference honoree since 2015. Allyssa is also an outstanding nursing student with an 3.59 GPA.

Connecting with Communities

The CON has received not one, but two federal HRSA grants in the past six months! In June, the CON received a $2.8 million grant to prepare BSN students for practice in primary care, particularly in rural Montana. This four-year grant is worth almost $700,000 per year, supports student travel and the professional development of RNs at clinical sites, and is guided by Drs. Laura Larsson and Wade Hill, along with Brian King, Director of the Caring for Our Own Program. Healthcare is shifting away from acute care settings and MSU CON is proud to educate students where healthcare is occurring.

College of Nursing students providing healthcare in a rural setting.

In October, the CON received a second HRSA grant! This $1.7 million, four-year grant addresses oral health needs in young kids (0-6 years old) across Montana, primarily in American Indian communities. CON BSN students have already visited Northern Cheyenne Head Start classrooms to deliver oral health education and dental screenings. With guidance from a registered dental hygienist, the students learned how to apply fluoride varnish and observed the correct assessment of the oral cavity. Dr. Laura Larsson is leading the grant, a collaboration between MSU College of Nursing, MT DPHHS, Indian Health Service, Smiles Across Montana, and the Northern Cheyenne Head Start.

Head Start children receiving oral health care screenings and education.


18 Months of Giving

456 Donors

660 Gifts


Expert Faculty

116 Total faculty

30 Terminal Degrees

54 Advanced Practice Nurses


15 Funded Projects

world class Graduates

9,221 Bobcat Nursing Alumni since 1937

Most recent NCLEX Pass Rate = 93%

100% Pass rate for first-time DNP graduates taking the ANCC or AANP certification exam

Nursing Students

1,044 Undergraduate student enrolled Fall 2018

256 BSN Graduated Each Year

115 Graduate students enrolled Fall 2018

Graduated 32 Graduate Students in 2018

5 Campuses

One College

Two December 2018 graduates from Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)

Second Lieutenant Helena “Lena” Tupper, U.S. Army (left)

Second Lieutenant Robert “Bobby” Eaton, U.S. Army (right)

Second Lts. Tupper and Eaton received their BSN at the December 2018 Recognition Ceremony. Both were commissioned into the United States Army Nurse Corps.

Introducing Our Featured Alumna

Jennifer Show

“I am where I am today largely because of the academic opportunities offered by Montana State University and the College of Nursing.”

- Jennifer Show, MSU College of Nursing Alumna

Serving the People

Jennifer Show was a student on the Billings Campus.

The CON has had many outstanding alumni over its 80-year history but Jennifer Show, DNP, FNP-BC stands out. She is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe. Raised on the Fort Belknap Reservation, she attended Harlem High School graduating as Valedictorian. She received the Presidential Scholarship to Montana State University majoring in both Psychology and Nursing. Upon graduation, Jennifer worked for two years for the Indian Health Service on both the Blackfeet and Fort Belknap Indian Reservations. She served our nation as part of the Navy Nurse Corps in Kuwait treating airlifted patients during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Later she was part of the Navy Reserves. In 2013, Jennifer returned to MSU CON to pursue her DNP degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. She earned that degree in just three years, graduating in 2016. She now works as the diabetes coordinator and nurse practitioner for the Fort Belknap Indian Community in a newly established, Tribally-run diabetes care clinic. Jennifer is a former CO-OP student -- one of the first twenty students in the program. She has given back to CO-OP by working as a Nurse Mentor for other students, particularly on the Billings campus. That is an enduring quality of Dr. Show – she serves others. She served her country. She has given back to CO-OP. Now, Jennifer is serving her home reservation through her leadership role coordinating the Ft. Belknap Diabetes Prevention Program. Jennifer Show embodies Bobcat Nursing excellence and values!

Making an Impact

Ryann Popa

Ryann Popa is a graduate student and a faculty member on the Great Falls Campus.

Sometimes a class changes the lives of students and the communities in which they live. During fall semester, Dr. Charlene “Charlie” Winters taught NRSG614: Vulnerability and Health Care in Diverse Communities. Graduate students learn about vulnerability and disparity in health and healthcare access and outcomes among diverse and rural populations. The course has both lecture and clinical components. Dr. Winters approaches the clinical component as a fieldwork experience having students select a community to assess, identify a vulnerable sub-population to explore, and then design experiences to fully investigate the risk factors that contribute to that population’s vulnerability, healthcare quality and access, and health outcomes. Students look for resources that are available to the population and finally, make recommendations to reduce the vulnerability. Students engage in many activities in the course. They interview community members, shadow providers, meet with policy makers, participate in school or other events, and some even begin volunteering within the community. This year, one student in the course, Ryann Popa, who is also a BSN clinical instructor on the Great Falls campus, wrote to Dr. Winters at the end of the course. Ryann shared that as a result of the course she had joined the Board of Directors of the Great Falls Food Bank. Ryann is this semester’s NRSG614 jewel – making a difference in her community.

Making a Difference in Her Community

Exploring Healthcare Abroad

India - The College of Nursing's newest international learning opportunity

Left to right Natasha Tiphaine, Emma Hornby, Dr. Julie Ruff, and Hannah Ackerman

The College of Nursing offers undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to participate in learning experiences that go beyond required classes. These include guided research experiences, optional clinical practice, and service learning. For some students, these experiences are transformative. MSU College of Nursing’s Global Nursing Program opens doors to the world; it changes lives for the students who participate and the people they touch. The program offers opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in service-learning projects, clinical rotations, and nursing research in countries around the world. The overall goal is to educate Bobcat nurses with a global view of health – starting at the local level but thinking more broadly to national and international levels. Integrating elements of cultural competency, holistic healthcare, and nursing partnerships allows MSU nursing students and faculty to consider future healthcare needs both globally and for Montana. The College has created partnerships with sister colleges in Ecuador, India, and (soon!) Costa Rica.

At Montana State, nursing students can never dream too big or too far.

Strong Partnerships

Clinical partners across Montana help the CON deliver a world class education. A practice discipline, such as nursing, requires real-life experiences to build clinical expertise. All of MSU CON’s clinical partnerships are valuable to provide the diverse, in-depth and geographically available clinical opportunities required for students. Yet one partnership is the opposite of accessible but the very essence of excellent. BSN students from Bozeman drive over six hours to reach the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. They stay for a week-long immersive service-learning experience that engages them in the Native American culture of their hosts to deliver primary and preventative care to children within the community. In November, Montana State University won the top national prize in the sixth annual Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards given by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The award highlighted MSU collaborations with American Indian communities. The partnership that received particular praise from the prize judges was the CON’s longstanding relationship with the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. Mr. Kenny Smoker, a Fort Peck leader, and Dr. Julie Ruff, faculty on the CON’s Bozeman campus, have worked together to create this remarkable clinical opportunity. President Cruzado commented that she was particularly proud because MSU competed with much larger universities for the recent award, demonstrating MSU’s commitment to helping meet tribal needs in ways that understand, respect and embrace Native cultures. MSU nursing students, like Cooper McDonald, may arrive in Fort Peck uncertain but they leave with smiles.

Access to Learning

Cody Bartholomew and Rexanne Wieferich graduated this December with a Master degree in Nursing (MN) and Certificate in Nursing Education from MSU CON. What makes them special is not what they left MSU with, however but what they entered with – an ADRN. Both Cody and Rexanne were graduates from MSU CON’s ADRN-to-MN program, which allows nurses with an Associate’s degree in nursing to pursue graduate education without first obtaining a BSN. This innovative program addresses the need for nurses, like Cody and Rexanne, to efficiently pursue their career goals. Both Cody and Rexanne are nurse leaders at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Both are experienced RNs. They recognized their passion to be nurse educators meant they needed a graduate degree in nursing. Rather than repeat basic nursing education, Cody and Rexanne realized the CON ADRN-to-MN program as a way to build upon their former education and clinical “smarts”. ADRN-to-MN students take bridge courses to round out their college prerequisites, then jump into graduate coursework. Cody and Rexanne are examples of the success of the ADRN-to-MN option, not only completing the required Master’s courses but adding four additional courses to meet the requirements for the Certificate in Nursing Education. You can find Cody and Rexanne in the Simulation Lab on the CON Kalispell campus where they have joined the CON faculty.

Top left image, left to right, Cody Bartholomew and Rexanne Wieferich.

Educating Montana’s next generation of nurses.

(406) 994-3783


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