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OUR VIEW: DSU nursing program too valuable to be eliminated

Dickinson State University President Thomas Mitzel shared the worst case scenario with faculty, staff and students Friday if the former governor's proposed $7.5 million budget cut came to fruition. Budget cuts that deep would require the elimination of the Nursing program at DSU.

Mitzel will talk to the state Legislature Monday about the budget former Gov. Jack Dalrymple recommended and the dire consequences.

DSU's 19-member budget council spent countless hours for a proposed three phases of budget reductions and last would put an end to the very successful nursing program at the school. We at the newspaper understand that times are tough and our state must balance the budget.

The current management team at the university inherited a very difficult situation, and it would have been easy to focus on the sins of the past, but to their credit they went to work returning DSU to a university that serves the needs of the students they educate.

Mitzel and his team have created momentum that is easy to see and to end it now seems senseless and not in the best interest of our state.

Dalrymple's budget is a starting place and tough decisions will be made by legislators, still we at The Press would hope that budget reductions that put the people in western North Dakota at risk would be a last resort. The nursing shortage that exists makes it extremely difficult to recruit nurses to rural North Dakota. The best chance to find nurses for the health facilities in Western North Dakota has always been to produce our own locally.

Physicians diagnose illness and injuries than offer plans for a cure, but nurses are the ones who carry out that process. Without enough qualified nurses that is nearly impossible and the elimination of the nursing program at DSU will ultimately put the people of western North Dakota in harm's way.

Legislators must realize that the short and long term consequences of eliminating the nursing program at DSU will downgrade the quality of healthcare in our portion of the state.

We at the newspaper are sure that our representatives from western North Dakota understand the importance Dickinson State University is to our area of the state. We hope they can convince their fellow legislators and new governor that the momentum at DSU is essential to our state and should be cultivated and elimination the nursing program is simply not an option.