Northwestern plans nursing program

Northwestern College has hired Dr. Ruth Dankanich Daumer, chairperson of the nursing department at Briar Cliff University since 2000, to direct the development of a planned new baccalaureate degree in nursing program.  

“Northwestern has offered a pre-nursing program for many years and had a cooperative agreement with Briar Cliff until recently, and we have found strong interest among prospective students in a full-fledged nursing program at Northwestern,” says Dr. Bruce Murphy, president. “As we explored the feasibility of building a nursing program, we were extremely fortunate to attract Dr. Daumer to lead that effort.

“She is very highly qualified and respected as a leader in the nursing field, both locally and beyond. She also has a strong Christian commitment and believes in the Christian mission of Northwestern.”

Daumer, an Orange City resident who has been on the Briar Cliff faculty since 1985 and served as program director for its Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) degree program for the last two years, says she is excited to be part of this new venture.

“I am delighted to continue my teaching ministry at Northwestern College and join my new colleagues in an unapologetic integration of faith, learning and service. Northwestern enjoys an enviable national reputation for a distinctive and substantial liberal arts experience, excellence in the social and natural sciences, and a cohesive and vibrant community.”  

Daumer says Northwestern’s new nursing program will be based on a synthesis of both the arts and the sciences, woven together by a Christian worldview. With only two Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree programs in the western half of Iowa, Northwestern seeks to help meet the urgent need for more nurses.

“Our region will be well served by this faith-inspired nursing education program,” says Daumer. “I am excited about the opportunities God is providing us, and I look forward to building a mission-driven and innovative nursing program that will prepare our graduates to promote health, healing and social justice in diverse communities, and to be image bearers of Jesus.”

Northwestern will continue to offer its pre-nursing program as work begins on developing the bachelor’s degree program. If the program is approved by a faculty vote in January of 2006, Daumer anticipates presenting a self-study to the Iowa Board of Nursing the following month and offering the first nursing courses in 2006–07. In 2008–09, when the first class of nurses is in its last year, a team from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education would visit the campus to consider accrediting the program.

Daumer says Northwestern would seek to partner in the development of this program with the Orange City Area Health System, Community Health Partners and other health-related, faith-based and educational organizations.

Daumer coordinates a parish nurse ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Orange City and at St. John’s Lutheran Church in rural Ireton. She also coordinates and consults on parish nursing and health advocacy for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in Iowa as well as for churches across the nation.

Currently involved on a research project focused on developing a clergy health appraisal tool, Daumer is a frequent presentor at national conferences and has also published articles on quality of life for clients with heart disease, innovations in nursing education, and health and illness dimensions of the Lewis and Clark expedition. She is the author of “Seasons for Wholeness: Monthly Themes and Programming for Parish Health Ministry, Volumes I-V” and several other resources for health ministry.

Daumer earned a doctoral degree in educational administration at the University of South Dakota. She received an M.S.N. from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and a B.S.N. from Briar Cliff. She is licensed as an advanced registered nurse practitioner/clinical specialist in community health nursing.