Gustavus Announces Expansion of Nursing Program

Gustavus nursing students work on a high-fidelity manikin simulator in the skills lab.

SAINT PETER, Minn. (April 4, 2022) – The Gustavus Adolphus College nursing program will expand its incoming class by  25% beginning this fall, the College announced today. The expansion of the Department of Nursing will increase the number of students in the program from 30 to 40 per class year, resulting in more opportunities for current and transfer students who plan to work in healthcare after graduating from the Saint Peter liberal arts college. 

“The educational and clinical experiences that our nursing program provides to students are second to none,” Provost and Dean of the College Brenda Kelly said. “We are thrilled to expand this program to better meet the healthcare needs of our communities.” 

Dr. Heidi Meyer

The nursing profession is currently facing a critical shortage. According to the United States (US) Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that the US needs over 200,000 new registered nurses each year to meet increasing needs and replace retiring nurses. Through the expansion of its program, Gustavus is responding to this great challenge by preparing more nurses to enter the field at this critical time when the healthcare industry is under increasing pressure to serve an aging population and respond to the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Gustavus nursing program has a responsibility to society to educate nurses, especially in a time of great need,” professor and department chair Heidi Meyer said. “Integrating different ways of knowing is essential for the provision of safe, holistic, and innovative care, and a liberal arts education with a degree in nursing stretches students to think in different ways. It provides students with experiences that develop critical thinking, ethical practice, and advocacy and leadership abilities that result in empathetic practitioners and contributing members of the healthcare teams.”

The program expansion will be made possible through an investment in additional faculty, program support, and facilities improvements. Students in the program will continue to have access to modern high-fidelity simulation manikins to practice hands-on clinical care thanks to a recent grant from the Otto Bremer Trust and gift from nursing alumna Dr. Barbara Weissenberg Achter ’66 with her husband, Dr. Morton Achter, in addition to extensive clinical experiences in a variety of healthcare settings.

In recent years, the first-attempt pass rate of Gustavus graduates on the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) nursing boards has averaged approximately 90%. The mission of the department is to foster the development of nursing professionals who demonstrate the values of excellence, community, justice, service, and faith through cognitive practice, integration of learning, ethical reflection, and intercultural understanding. Graduates of the program are distinguished by synthesis and application of a liberal arts education to provide holistic care, ethical and reflective practice to promote a just and peaceful world, the ability to advocate for the health and wellbeing of all people, and a commitment to lifelong learning, leadership, and service to others. 

Learn more about the expansion of the Gustavus nursing program, how to apply, and the department’s history online.

Are you a Gustavus student interested in the nursing program? Applications are still being accepted for Fall 2022! Contact the nursing department chair by April 18 to start the conversation.



Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
[email protected]