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May 09, 2014 05:45 PM

A Second Career Helping Others

Sioux Falls, SD

Kris Pederson is preparing to take her boards after recently graduating from the University of Sioux Falls nursing program. Only the Sioux Falls woman is not your typical college graduate.

"My husband was very supportive, and my kids were very understanding," Pederson said.

The 39-year-old has three kids and now three degrees. Along with nursing, she also graduated with biology and medical laboratory science degrees more than ten years ago.

"I've spent 12 years in the lab analyzing lab tests, but I wanted to see the whole picture, the whole patient and have more patient contact," Pederson said.

Pederson is among a growing number of people in KELOLAND who are taking part in accelerated nursing programs. The programs allow students who already have other degrees to take a shortened, but intense, nursing program.

"Just go ahead and get it out of the way in 15 months rather than taking the whole two years and putting my family through a longer period of time," Pederson said.

At USF the accelerated nursing program is 15 months long and has been popular.

"A lot of people go into their career and find that they're often times spending more time in their careers than they are with their families, and it's essential you enjoy what you do," Director of USF School of Nursing Jessica Cherenegar, DNP, said.

Another reason for the increase in popularity of these accelerating nursing programs--there's job available in the nursing field.

"The word is out that you are never not going to have a job if you go into nursing," Cherenegar said.

Pederson hopes to help with the nursing shortage. She already has a job offer from Avera.

"Seeing the patients on a day-to-day basis and seeing them progressively get better and better hopefully," Pederson said.

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