MADISON S.D. – The South Dakota Board of Regents has given the green light for a plan to make it easier for nurses to continue their education and help grow the healthcare workforce in our state.

Since January 2022, the Board of Regents academic affairs staff has met with the Board of Technical Education (BOTE) academic programming staff to discuss progress, highlight opportunities, and identify ways to enhance their higher-education partnership. In April 2022, that leadership team identified the desire to move toward a statewide nursing agreement.

Lake Area Technical College, Mitchell Technical College, Southeast Technical College, Western Dakota Technical College, South Dakota State University, and the University of South Dakota created a statewide nursing articulation agreement. This agreement simplifies the process of transferring credits between higher education institutions for nursing students. The goal is to promote workforce development in healthcare, specifically for Registered Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which are critical for South Dakota’s economic growth. The recent decision by the Board of Regents has created a clear pathway for students to stack their awarded credentials and progress toward their desired degree.

“We should applaud the technical colleges, university staff, and their administrations for their dedication to workforce development in our state,” said System Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Janice Minder. “Increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate or higher degree will significantly impact healthcare in South Dakota.”

Additional impacts of a higher education nursing population include expanding consumer access to primary care through an increased number of advanced practice nurses and increasing the critical faculty pipeline to prepare an adequate nursing workforce for the future, as outlined by the Future of Nursing Action Coalition.

This agreement is aligned with the goal of Access and Affordability in the BOR strategic plan. It aims to improve access to bachelor’s degree programs for students who have earned credits from technical and community colleges by enabling seamless transfer and increasing enrollments. The South Dakota BOR prioritizes student success and believes that all students should have the opportunity to further their education.