LPN sponsorships cover tuition and help workforce

Sanford Health program pays for students' LPN degree in exchange for a two-year work commitment

Two young medical professionals in blue scrubs with stethescopes around their necks

Miranda Vore has always enjoyed working in health care, but recently felt something was missing.

“I wanted to do more for patients and their families,” Vore says of considering becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She had heard about an LPN sponsorship program at Sanford Health — which helps pay for tuition, books and other expenses for people getting their licensed practical nursing degree in exchange for a two-year work commitment — but worried it was too late for her.

“It took me a long time to get the courage to apply as I am in my 30s and have a family,” Vore says. “I finally applied after knowing this is an opportunity to show my daughter that you are never too old to go after your dreams and goals.”

LPNs help fill a growing need

Sanford Health began its LPN sponsorship program in 2015 to meet the growing need for nurses in an ambulatory setting, which is anywhere patients aren’t admitted for care, primarily in clinics.

“Across the nation, there’s a focus on providing care to patients in an ambulatory setting to help keep them healthy and ultimately out of the hospital,” says Jamie Stucky, a clinical educator at Sanford Health. “LPNs have an emerging role in today’s changing health care environment. The scope of practice for an LPN fits perfectly with the majority of care provided in the clinic, including things like interviewing patients, taking vitals, administering medications and assisting with minor procedures.”

Sanford Health offers the sponsorship opportunity to both current employees and community members who are wanting to become an LPN. The program — and number of available sponsorships — continues to grow as the organization sees success with the sponsored students who become employees.

Sponsorships help ease burden of tuition cost

“I decided to become an LPN because of my love for people,” says Elliane Antrim, who completed her LPN degree in December 2018 and will soon start work in a Sanford Health internal medicine clinic as part of her sponsorship.

“I decided to apply for the LPN sponsorship program because I was running out of money to pay for my schooling,” says Antrim. “Sanford Health is an amazing place to work, and the sponsorship helps take the pressure of paying for all of school off my shoulders.”

That help with the cost of tuition and other costs of getting the degree “really is a game changer for a lot of the students,” says Amanda Kuper, a Sanford Health human resources talent adviser. With the sponsorship, many students are able to graduate with little to no student loan debt.

Finding a role you’re passionate about

After students finish their LPN schooling, human resources employees like Kuper also help many of them find a position at Sanford Health that fits their skills and interests. “Many of the clinic supervisors and directors are grateful and more than happy to meet with the students who apply to their clinics,” she says.

“It was nice knowing that you will have many opportunities when you are done with school,” says Vore, who now works at a Sanford Orthopedics clinic.

“Now is a very exciting time to become an LPN, because there is so much opportunity to work with a variety of patients,” says Stucky. “The roles available could match anyone’s areas of interest, from family practice to specialty areas such as pediatrics, cardiology, dermatology, women’s health, orthopedics and even long-term care.”

Set up for continued success

Stucky and her team check in with students during their schooling and after they start their job with Sanford Health to make sure they’re comfortable in their role and feel like they have the support they need to succeed.

“It has been amazing working with Sanford Health and the sponsorship program,” Atrim says. “I have learned so much, and have excelled further than I thought I ever would.”

This personal attention and investment in employees is something Stucky says sets Sanford Health apart.

“We really want to set up our employees for success, and to feel fulfilled in their role,” she says. “LPNs have a great opportunity to grow in their skills and expertise, build relationships with co-workers, providers and patients, and advance toward their career goals. And that’s something we’re proud to help employees with as they grow in their careers.”

Sponsorship applications are available online

Students interested in applying for the sponsorship program can fill out an application online at sanfordhealth.jobs; in addition to LPN sponsorships, the program also has sponsorships for medical assistants and surgical technologists.

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