*** Covid-19 is affecting each and every one of us in different ways on a daily basis. As we all take safe and careful measures to social distance and limit the spread of this virus, some of our services have shifted to virtual/online platforms. ***
Please contact Niganawenimaanaanig staff if you would like to know how we are supporting nursing students during this time.
The Niganawenimaanaanig Indigenous Nursing Program provides holistic support to Indigenous students to increase their likelihood of graduating from the BSU Nursing Program and becoming licensed nurses.
The world needs more Indigenous nurses!
Since 2017, Niganawenimaanaanig (an Ojibwe word interpreted as “we take care of them”) has supported Indigenous pre-nursing and nursing students (both on-campus and online RN-BS) from Bemidji State University. Niganawenimaanaanig is funded by the HRSA Nursing Workforce Diversity grant, increasing nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including ethnic and racial minorities who are underrepresented among registered nurses.
Who is eligible for the Niganawenimaanaanig Program?
Any Indigenous/American Indian nursing student who has been accepted or is enrolled in Bemidji State’s four-year or RN-BS nursing program tracks is encouraged to apply to the program. Niganawenimaanaanig defines ‘Indigenous’ as anyone who is an enrolled member or a descendant of an enrolled member of a Tribal Nation.
What does Niganawenimaanaanig support look like?
For many students, the challenges of nursing school are spent apart from their supportive families and home communities, some for the very first time. Niganawenimaanaanig provides an inclusive community for Indigenous students that fosters academic achievement and perseverance throughout the ups and downs of college life, drawing strength and encouragement from its circle of students and staff.
Niganawenimaanaanig students visit weekly with the program’s Student Mentor to discuss their goals, celebrate successes, and to address challenges that they may be facing. The Student Mentor is officed alongside the Niganawenimaanaanig lounge and is available to listen, offer encouragement, and bridge resources with each student’s unique pathway in mind. Few programs are able to support their students with a full-time advocate. The Niganawenimaanaanig team believes that program students benefit a great deal by having this position dedicated to their success!
Program gatherings are held at the beginning and close of each semester. These are an encouraging time for all, bringing together the 4-year and RN-BS students from the program.
Niganawenimaanaanig has its own student lounge space on campus that is comfortable and inviting. The home-like atmosphere provides a place to hang out, study, eat, and relax.
Academic support through Niganawenimaanaanig is provided in a number of ways but is consistently present in the affirming, supportive relationships with staff and their fellow students in the program.
The Student Mentor is a dedicated and accessible resource for students, providing accountability and support throughout their academic journey. Per the program student agreement, Niganawenimaanaanig staff receives faculty updates on performance, and proactive interventions may take place to address challenges with the student before they lead to detrimental outcomes.
Students often find the Niganawenimaanaanig lounge to be a very productive academic space for them while on campus. The lounge is a consistent, dedicated place, where students can study, connect with fellow students, or just take a break between classes. Upperclassmen often provide a great deal of knowledge to newer students and the lounge is an excellent spot where those insights are shared in a relaxed environment.
Bemidji State University’s Nursing Program is rigorous and all students are expected to pass nursing courses with a grade of 75% or higher. Niganawenimaanaanig supports its students that are earning a C or lower, by requiring that they attend weekly tutoring sessions until they have a more confident grasp of the course. The program connects students with tutors, facilitates study groups, and provides referrals to individualized support resources whenever necessary.
Everyone has a unique cultural history and heritage, as well as their own practices and beliefs that may be held sacred. Niganawenimaanaanig staff understands that culture plays a different role in each of their student’s lives and encourages their cultural identity accordingly. Niganawenimaanaanig supports cultural learning opportunities on campus and within the community and works collaboratively with BSU’s American Indian Resource Center with culturally supportive events that are hosted there throughout the year.
Niganawenimaanaanig serves a campus that is centrally located among the three largest Anishinaabe/Ojibwe Tribal Nations in the state of Minnesota and many of its students represent them. The Niganawenimaanaanig program staff are comprised of enrolled members of Anishinaabe/Ojibwe Tribal Nations or have been raised knowledgeably alongside them. In light of these factors, most of the program’s knowledge base and cultural programming comes from an Anishinaabe/Ojibwe perspective.
Every Indigenous nursing student at Bemidji State is welcome and encouraged to be a part of Niganawenimaanaanig. The program is inclusive to students from all tribal nations and believes this diversity strengthens the supportive learning community that Niganawenimaanaanig provides.
Economic stability can play a pivotal role in the retention and success of nursing college students. To offer some financial consistency, Niganawenimaanaanig provides semester awards and monthly stipends to eligible Indigenous nursing students in the nursing programs at Bemidji State. Niganawenimaanaanig students in the RN-BS track may receive financial resources upon being accepted into the program, while 4-year track students receive aid once they are selected to be in the nursing program (typically in their sophomore year). Award and stipend amounts may vary by year and the individual amounts are determined by their need and BSU’s Financial Aid Office.
Once students are accepted into the nursing program, Niganawenimaanaanig students may receive some of BSU’s required nursing program items, such as uniforms and stethoscopes. The program provides laptops to eligible program students at this time as well!