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Published December 30, 2013, 11:03 AM

MSU Mankato to offer nursing program on Iron Range

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota State University, Mankato, will start offering online courses this spring to help nursing students on the Iron Range complete their four-year registered nurse degrees at home.

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota State University, Mankato, will start offering online courses this spring to help nursing students on the Iron Range complete their four-year registered nurse degrees at home.

Hibbing Community College offers a two-year nursing program, but the closest four-year program to the Range is at St. Scholastica in Duluth.

The idea behind the MSU Iron Range Nursing Program is to provide a convenient way for nurses to complete their degrees closer to home, Kristine Retherford, dean of Minnesota State's health and nursing college, told The Free Press for a story published Sunday. However, anyone may take the courses, not just Hibbing Community College students.

The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board will cover faculty salaries for the online program, which will allow students to complete their bachelor's degrees in as few as three semesters if they've completed their general education courses.

"They will be the same exact courses (as are taught in Mankato) with an emphasis on family and societal health and, in particular, rural settings," Retherford said.

The school also plans to offer online courses for masters' and doctor of nursing programs aimed at registered nurses in the area starting this fall.

MSU already had a presence on the Iron Range through a similar partnership with its engineering program.

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