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The Wokunze Wicaske Alliance

students in simulation

For Native American Nursing Students

Wokunze Wicaske Alliance for Native American Nursing Students Logo

The Wokunze Wicaske Alliance for Native American Nursing Students was established in the summer of 2015 at the SDSU College of Nursing in Rapid City. The purpose of the alliance is to attract and retain Native Americans to the state's nursing workforce through an inclusive alliance of tribal partners, community members and academic leaders.

Goals of the Wokunze Wicaske Alliance

  1. Strengthen the collaborative effort of Community Alliance Partners (Tribal partners/Community Partners/Academic Partners), to increase Native American nurses in the South Dakota workforce.
  2. Based on input from students and Community Alliance Partners and Tribal Board members, assess and prioritize needs and barriers that can impact Native American students’ access to and completion of the nursing program.
  3. Meet the priorities, identify, implement, and evaluate sustainable community, tribal and academic strategies and resources for Native American students while pursuing nursing education.
  4. Increase the number of enrolled Native American pre-nursing students.
  5. Increase the number of Native American students admitted to the nursing major.
  6. Increase the Native American nursing student retention rate.
  7. Create a pathway for Native American nurse graduates to transition into the workforce and/or graduate programs and to ensure successful attainment of state licensure and provide assistance with licensure exam review course.

History

The Wokunze Wicaske Alliance for Native American Nursing Students was established at the SDSU College of Nursing in Rapid City through a Bush Foundation grant. South Dakota State University's College of Nursing is one of 30 organizations to the receive a 2015 Community Innovation grant from the Bush Foundation. These organizations are developing and testing new solutions to challenges in their community within Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 23 native nations. 

Talking Circles

Alliance members host talking circles with current students, previous graduates, and other professional nurses to learn ways to attract others to the field. In addition, the Wokunze Wicaske Alliance for Native American Nursing Students guides strategy and decision-making that will lead to expanded, upgraded supports services.

Mentorship Program

Members of the Great Plains Native American Association (GPNANA) serve as mentors for students who are enrolled in the pre-nursing and nursing programs. The mentoring program provides academic and professional support for students.