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Florence Msuya, a recent graduate of South Central College’s nursing program, spoke at a signing ceremony held Monday for SCC and Minnesota State University, Mankato’s new Maverick Advance Plan. The partnership will allow nursing students to complete their bachelor of science in nursing degrees 100% online. Pictured next to Msuya are SCC President Annette Parker and MSU, Mankato Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Matt Cecil. (Photo courtesy of South Central College)

Seeing her mom work as a nurse growing up, lifelong Minnesotan Florence Msuya developed an early passion for caring for others, and an early interest in nursing.

But instead of pursuing a career in the medical field, Msuya earned a business degree at St. Cloud State University 20 years ago. It wasn’t until long after marrying and raising her four daughters that Msuya decided to go after her dream to become a nurse. South Central College simplified the process.

Msuya enrolled in SCC’s LPN to RN Plan, which is designed for current licensed practical nurses working to obtain an associate of science in nursing degree. Msuya started the SCC program as an LPN and came to the program with prerequisites already fulfilled from Anoka Technical College. Now a recent graduate of SCC’s nursing program, she plans to earn her bachelor of science in nursing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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Florence Msuya, holding the sign, is a recent graduate of South Central College’s LPN to RN nursing program. From here, Msuya will attend MSU Mankato to earn her bachelor of science in nursing degree. Pictured from left are nursing faculty, Star Thorson, Bradly Ely, Candis Mortenson-Klimpel, Rebecca Gullickson, Msuya, Kelly Wohlford and Andrea Mettler. (Photo courtesy of Florence Msuya)

“I got family support, and the children are all grown up; the last one is 10 years old, so some days I sit with them and do homework together,” Msuya said. “It wasn’t too bad, and they were all helpful. We were able to study together and be together.”

As of Monday, SCC and MNSU have established a new partnership to make obtaining a nursing degree even more accessible to students. The Maverick (Nursing) Advance (Transfer) Plan, or “MAP,” creates a seamless transition between the associate of science in nursing degree from SCC and the 100% online Registered Nurse (RN) Baccalaureate Completion degree from MNSU, Mankato.

“We are proud to be working with South Central College on this Maverick Advance Plan nursing partnership,” Richard Davenport, president of MNSU, Mankato said in a press release. “The nursing programs at both South Central College and Minnesota State Mankato have rich histories, and this partnership will benefit students transferring into the university’s 100% online program as well as help meet the critical need for nurses in our region and state.”

Said Annette Parker, president of SCC: “With MAP, SCC nursing graduates can not only immediately begin working in their field, but also begin in Minnesota State Mankato’s RN Baccalaureate Completion degree from anywhere online with the potential to complete it in just a few semesters.”

Msuya attended the signing agreement celebration between SCC and MNSU Monday in support of the new program.

Although she was a bit hesitant to go back to school, she encourages anyone wanting to make a similar career change to “take baby steps” and consider taking one class at a time to earn credits.

“The connection with MNSU is a good program to connect with before you get caught up with other activities in life,” Msuya said. “Plus it creates more opportunities for growth in the healthcare industry once you have your BSN.”

As an SCC student in the LPN to RN Plan, Msuya started out by completing a transition course to establish a foundation within the RN program. It took her four semesters to complete the program, but she said the timeline varies, depending on the student.

As part of the plan’s transition course, Msuya worked in elder care at nursing homes and then branched out to hospitals. Shadowing nurses in the unit, she learned to assess clinical care and worked alongside SCC instructors.

Living in the Twin Cities, Msuya commuted to both Faribault and Mankato for SCC courses. Some of the hands-on experiences took her to hospitals in Faribault, Owatonna and Mankato. Completing this portion of the program during the pandemic, she said, gave new depth to her studies.

The next step for Msuya is to earn her bachelor of science in nursing degree in Mankato. With all sorts of prerequisites under her belt, she’ll only need to focus on nursing classes within the bachelor’s program. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Msuya said she wants to continue working in a hospital setting and become a healthcare leader in an administration. Apart from being in a clinical setting, she is interested in a managerial role.

“I would like to just thank South Central because they make the program easier to join,” Msuya said. “With the admission process, they (SCC and MNSU) collaborate and connect to each other. You go to SCC and MNSU and you’re not seen as a stranger but a part of the program already, and most things can be transferred automatically.

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