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Good call, Sis

Sanford Health provides help with nursing student's tuition
Lindsey Kary follows sister's advice
It didn't take Lindsey Kary long to realize she made the right decision by following her sister's advice.
  Lindsey Kary knew she wanted to go into healthcare, but she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to be, until her older sister went to Sanford College of Nursing and persuaded her to think about doing the same.

During her first day of orientation at the college, Kary knew right away she was in the right place.

“I was like, ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing,’” the 22-year-old Beach native said.

Her sister also told her about Sanford Health’s tuition reimbursement program, whereby students can get loans for more than half their tuition waived if they agree to accept positions at Sanford Health when they graduate.

It’s kind of a big incentive if you’re looking for a nursing degree because it gets to be pretty spendy,” Kary says. “Without that, it would
have been really difficult because the program is really tough. It’s hard to work while you’re going to school.”

The Sanford Health Nursing Student Tuition Loan Program provides students loans of up to $2,750 per semester for full-time students, which can be canceled if they work within the Sanford Health system for two years. The program is one of the many ways Sanford Health gives back to the community. (See a more detailed list of the health system’s community involvement at the end of the story.) Tuition is $5,006 per semester for full-time students at the accredited, four-year program. The loan must be repaid if the nurse decides to work elsewhere. The program helps keep a steady supply of nurses for Sanford Health despite a nationwide nursing shortage.

“It provides Sanford Health with a committed work force, which is vital for the health system to continue to provide high-quality care to the region,” said Karen Latham, Sanford College of Nursing provost/dean.

“The lower tuition provided by the program allows more students to pursue their dreams of becoming nurses.”

She said the tuition reimbursement program, along with Sanford Health’s nurse residency program—an innovative training program that pairs experienced nurses with new graduates—help curb turnover among new nurses.

The tuition reimbursement program was created in 2003 to encourage graduates to accept jobs at Sanford Health rather than elsewhere. Since its creation, 342 students have participated in the program, or 86 percent of the students, according to Janell Thomas, College of Nursing financial aid director.

Latham said the loan does not guarantee students will get Sanford Health jobs aftergraduation. If they aren’t offered a job, they don’t have to repay the loan.
  Karen Latham, Provost/Dean, Medcenter One College of Nursing
Karen Latham
College of Nursing

Kary graduated from the college in May 2010 and began working full time as a nurse in June. She said it was a big transition the first day she stepped onto the floor as a registered nurse, but she knows her sister was right: She was meant to be a nurse. Her favorite part of the job: “Getting to spend time with the patients,” she said.

“That was the reason I wanted to go into nursing in the first place.”

Click here for more information about Sanford College of Nursing.

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