Free Online Health Sciences Course Now Available to Educators in Grades 6-12

A free online course focusing on grades 6 to 12 is available for students to learn more about health sciences and nursing as a health care career. Through grant funding, North Dakota State University School of Nursing and KAT Marketing from Bismarck, North Dakota, recently partnered to develop a free online course for students.

“This online course has some really helpful features,” said Dr. Loretta Heuer, professor in the NDSU School of Nursing. “Videos, interactive activities, quizzes, forums, and journals are all available to keep students engaged in learning and inspired to look at nursing as a career.”

Eight modules are included in the free online course. Module topics include:  nursing career pathways, the need for nurses, making a difference and stories of inspiration.

“Our goal with this course is to evoke an interest and excitement about nursing as a career,” said Dr. Heuer. “There’s such a need for nurses out there, and we want to inspire and instill a confidence in young students that nursing is a career within grasp.”

A demo of the course is available at One version of the course is available for middle schoolers and one version for high schoolers. Students typically complete the course in three-to-four hours.

The more than 75 minutes of video content is based on the critically-acclaimed documentary Essence of Healing: Journey of American Indian Nurses. The film has garnered nearly two dozen festival awards, including the top media award from the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society.

Other aims of the course are to show the steps toward a nursing career and to honor the legacy of Native American nurses.

For more information, or to roll out the course to students, contact Dr. Loretta Heuer at 701.238-8484 or at

There are more than 70 primary care health professional shortage areas in North Dakota and more across the U.S., according to the Health Resources Administration Data Warehouse. The need for registered nurses in North Dakota is projected to increase by 24.4 percent through 2024, according to the Job Service North Dakota Labor Market Information Center. Across the U.S., there are more than 7,000 primary care health professional shortage areas, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University projects a shortage of roughly 200,000 nursing professionals in the U.S. by 2020.

Funding for the free online course for students in grades 6 to 12 was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, University Partnership Research Grant for the Health Profession Opportunity Grants Program, No. 90PH0019, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families and by the Indigenous Wisdom in Nursing Program, Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant #D10HP26974, Bureau of Health Workforce, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Resources.

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