Yellow Bird: UND graduates Indian nurses
"Seventeen years ago, RAIN or Recruiting American Indian Nurses, a fledgling program that would bring better health care to Indian people and reservations, took its first wobbly steps. Program officials have reached out since 1990 and now have a firm grip on their goal.

Today, RAIN will hold its midyear graduation for eight American Indian nursing students at UND.

It hasn't always been easy. Like many programs, this one went through tough times when meager funding barely supported the program goals. The support of former Dean Elizabeth Nichols (who currently is working in Montana) “allowed us to continue,” said Deb Wilson, director of the program.

“Without her help, RAIN would have been just a director and one secretary rather than the nine staff members it has today.”

Wilson started working at UND 25 years ago. She was just 26 at the time, Wilson recalled with a smile. She came directly from graduate school at UND with a master's in counseling.

She has been at RAIN for most of those years because is an important program. In the years before RAIN, few American Indians went into nursing and few non-Indian nurses wanted to leave their home communities and work on reservations.

Today, more than 90 percent of the RAIN nurses work on reservations in the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota and other states in the region. And when this group of nurses work on reservations, they likely have a good understanding of Indian culture, are acclimated to reservation life and enjoy working with their own people."

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: UND's RAIN program eclipses stormy past (The Grand Forks Herald 12/12)
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