Nursing program prepared to meet demand

Practical Nursing website ranks RCTC 3rd in state

By Abigail Furutani
Photo Editor

In 2017, the RCTC Practical Nursing Program was ranked third in the state of Minnesota, according to research compiled by, an online resource for those interested in pursuing health-care careers.

And as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of 11 percent in the need for Licensed Practical Nurses per year in Minnesota, RCTC is well prepared to help students meet that need.

Echo photo by Abigail Furutani
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of 11 percent in the need for Licensed Practical Nurses per year in Minnesota.

Rebekah Pagel graduated from the Nursing Program at RCTC in 2017 and is currently working as a nurse in Rochester at Mayo Clinic. Pagel participated in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options program during which an adviser encouraged her to consider a career as a nurse. She decided to stay at RCTC for several reasons, including proximity to home, the reasonable cost of tuition and the opportunity to do her practicals (hands-on training) at the Mayo Clinic.

“I am happy with my choice to attend RCTC,” Pagel said. “The practical skills I learned are ones I use every day as a nurse. (They) well prepare their students to work as a nurse.”

Susan Jansen would heartily agree. Jansen has been involved in nursing for more than 35 years, both as a nurse at the Mayo Clinic and working as a Pediatric Clinical Instructor at RCTC for the past 20 years.

Echo photo by Abigail Furutani
RCTC’s Practical Nursing program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing Inc.

In July of 2016, Jansen became the full-time Associate Dean of Nursing. She sees the program here as having several strengths, beginning with the faculty who have excellent qualifications such as master’s degrees in nursing education, certified nurse educators and a few who are certified in simulation.

In addition to the faculty, the program is housed in a beautiful building with excellent labs and lab supplies where students can work with actual equipment that will prepare them for real work settings. Furthermore, there are three levels to the program RCTC offers, and from there, a student can continue on to a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Winona State’s RCTC Campus.

The first nursing class at RCTC was in 1968. Fast forward to fall of 2017 and new nursing student Mary Anne Fitz. Fitz was also a PSEO  student who wanted to pursue nursing education close to home with the intent of getting experience working as a nurse locally and then becoming a missionary nurse. She was excited to learn that RCTC offered the very program she was looking for.

“It is my hope that the excellent lab quality will prepare me well to work with patients,” Fitz said.

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