With a commitment to academic excellence, the Winona State University Department of Nursing continues to deliver committed, passionate and hardworking nurses for over 50 years. Citori Gowlland ‘21, a junior here at WSU has just started her journey towards becoming a registered nurse. Cyndy Jones, an alumni of WSU and current associate professor has been working with nursing students for 8 years. Both on either ends of their professional spectrum, they agree the nursing program here is unmatched. The hands-on environment and dedicated staff leads to excelling professionals who are equipped for a career in their specialized medical field. 

A native of Byron, Minnesota, Gowlland explains she chose nursing because she has always had a passion for helping others, as well as having an interest in science. Combining both things she enjoys, nursing is the perfect fit. 

“In lab, we are all hands on and interacting with the professor, other students and mannequins to recreate a real life scenario, explains Gowlland. “In class, we problem solve, learn how to interact with patients, and think about on the job scenarios to help prepare us for the future.” 

She also describes the professors commitment to the students, “they want you to do well, they push you, but they are willing to work with you to help you do your best.”

Jones is on her 8th year in a faculty position here at WSU. As well as teaching, she also works with students outside of the classroom in clinical experiences. The nursing department offers on the job training at multiple healthcare facilities including Mayo Clinic, Gundersen Health Systems and Winona Health clinic. 

“The experience that students receive at WSU is unparalleled in our area,” says Jones. The participation in different environments exposes students to all different types of nursing to help prepare them for future endeavors. “This model fosters more critical thinking, more prioritization, and more socialization for our nursing students than other models of clinical education. It also allows our clinical partners to recruit our students and plan for the future of the nursing profession,” says Jones. 

Jones also explains her and the faculty’s relationship with the students. 

“Students are encouraged to reach for their full potential and will be challenged within our nursing program. However, along with motivation and being pushed out of their comfort zone, every student will see compassion and comradery from their faculty,” says Jones. “We cherish this time and the impact we are fortunate to have on their journey to become a registered nurse.”

The program strives to create an environment in which students are exposed to situations similar to what would happen during a typical day at a hospital, as well as creating compassionate individuals that are well prepared for graduation. The longstanding success of the nursing program and the prosperity of our graduates motivates all to continue this tradition of excellence. 

The Winona State Nursing Program incorporates two undergraduate programs, along with six Masters and Graduate certificate options. More than 300 students graduate each year as caring, ethical, competent and compassionate professionals. The department celebrated 50 years of graduating baccalaureate prepared nurses in 2018, and continues to prepare the next generation to become excelling professionals in their field.