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Starting in the fall of next year, Montana high school grads who attend Montana State University and declare their intention to major in nursing will be guaranteed admittance into the university’s college of nursing. The change in policy will eliminate uncertainty those students face now. Would-be nursing students now have to complete two years of prerequisite courses and then compete for limited slots in the program.

The change in policy is made possible by a $101 million donation to the nursing college last year. And it couldn’t come at a better time. COVID-19 pandemic stress has thinned the ranks of health care providers nationwide — nurses in particular. Montana is no exception and, as with many issues, the shortage has been particularly acute in rural areas where health workers were already in short supply before the pandemic. Fifty-two of Montana’s 56 counties are classified as medically underserved with a shortage of health care workers by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

College administrators hope the change in policy will encourage more small town high school grads to enter the program and that many of them will return to their hometowns to practice after graduation from the program.


This editorial solely represents the opinion of the Chronicle Editorial Board. The board consists of the opinion editor, the managing editor, the publisher and several community members. The community members are non-journalists who provide input and help shape the board's opinions.

The board does not represent the views of the newsroom, and its opinions have no influence over the Chronicle's news coverage. To submit feedback on this editorial, email citydesk@dailychronicle.com.

Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Charles Rinker, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

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