Alumni Spotlight: Katie Smith

Nursing graduate earning B.S.N. at Metro State

Originally from Andover, Minnesota, a city of 32,000 residents in Anoka County, Katie Smith, 37, is a graduate of the Nursing program at Inver Hills Community College. Katie earned her Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing in 2016 and is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science (B.S.N.) at Metropolitan State University as a student in the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program.
A 1997 graduate of Anoka High School, Katie went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) from Luther College in 2001, double majoring in psychology and history. She worked as a psychiatric associate with an inpatient mental health clinic at the University of Minnesota for 15 years.
“That was a tough, but very rewarding job,” Katie recalled. “I worked with some great nurses. They were my role models and inspired me to continue my education and become an RN.”
Katie works as a registered nurse on an orthopedic unit at U of M Health while continuing her studies as a MANE student. She has two semesters to go before graduating. Once she earns her B.S.N., she plans on getting her Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) with an emphasis in leadership and management. Katie’s long-range career goals include earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and becoming a nurse practitioner.

More about MANE…

MANE is an innovative education alliance between Metro State, a four-year state university, and seven Minnesota State community colleges. The MANE curriculum represents a transformative approach to nursing education that encourages a deep understanding of key nursing concepts while addressing the changing health care environment.
“MANE was created to make baccalaureate nursing education available to students across the state,” said Sue Frosch, director of nursing at Inver Hills. “Developed jointly with practice partners and the Minnesota Board of Nursing, the MANE collaborative curriculum prepares nurses of the future to care for Minnesota’s diverse and aging population.”
Sue added that MANE uses a dual admission process, meaning applicants admitted to a MANE college will be dually admitted to a MANE university in a program culminating in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.). The 120-credit MANE baccalaureate curriculum has been endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC).
“As a nursing graduate at Inver Hills [and other MANE community colleges], you will receive an Associate of Science in Nursing at the completion of the semester five benchmark,” Sue said. “You will be eligible for licensure as a registered nurse after completion of the fifth semester and receiving your A.S.. At that time, you have the option of preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam and attaining licensure to practice as a registered nurse. This is a choice, but not a requirement to continue in the program.”

NCLEX-RN pass rate at Inver

In 2017, 41 out of 42 Inver Hills nursing students, or 97.62 percent, passed the exceptionally rigorous NCLEX-RN exam. Katie Smith remembers preparing for the exam. “I took a month off to study for the NCLEX-RN exam,” she said. “I took advantage of UWorld online practice questions and the Virtual-ATI online review course. My advice is do everything you can to prepare for the exam. You’ll be glad you did.”

Sue noted that Inver Hills students remain on their home campus throughout the entire program plan—or all eight semesters through the baccalaureate degree. Two thirds of coursework is completed online (a boon for working students) with one third completed in the classroom.
“One hallmark of MANE is the program’s flexibility,” Sue said. “The ability to complete your B.S.N. in eight semesters on your home campus is a great fit for new students and students already working in health care who want to advance their careers. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) with unencumbered nursing licenses can start MANE with five standing credits in advance. MANE increases the geographical and economic access to educational opportunities needed by our future nursing workforce.”

Nursing Information Sessions

Inver Hills MANE admits students twice yearly, once in February and in June. To learn more about the Nursing program, you can attend a Nursing Information Session. Current students can contact an academic counselor or advisor to determine the best plan for applying to the program.
Nursing Info Session
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.
Nursing Info Session
Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.

More about Katie…

Katie has been married to her high school sweetheart, Paul, for 16 years. She and Paul, a mechanical engineer, reside in Apple Valley, Minnesota, with their three children, Connor, 15, Kylie, 12, and Abigail, 8. When she was in high school and college, Katie was active in choir—she loves to sing. Her current hobbies are focused on raising her kids, including driving them to all their activities: lacrosse, football, piano lessons, basketball, church, musicals and more.

Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE)

MANE Mission

The mission of the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) is to increase baccalaureate prepared nurses through collaborative, transformative educational strategies.

MANE Curriculum Conceptual ModelMANE Vision

Through increased access to baccalaureate nursing education MANE will prepare professional nurses to promote health and meet the evolving and complex healthcare needs of an increasingly diverse population in Minnesota.

MANE Core Values Statement

MANE is dedicated to achieving our mission and vision in a manner consistent with our values of:

  • Innovation and the Pursuit of Excellence
  • Collaboration and Partnership
  • Integrity and Accountability
  • Mutual Respect and Collegiality
  • Diversity and Inclusiveness
    Responsiveness to Local and Global Healthcare Needs

MANE Philosophy Statement

We believe the purpose of nursing education is to prepare professional nurses in a partnered curriculum to practice successfully in today’s complex health care environment, respond to future health care needs, and lead in the broader health care system. A commitment to excellence in professional nursing practice, based on a set of shared core nursing values and innovation, is reflected in the use of integrative review in a spiraled, competency-based curriculum. We believe in a transformative curriculum that moves away from independent silos of education to a combined effort between universities, community colleges, and practice with the goal of increasing numbers of baccalaureate prepared nurses in Minnesota. This shared curriculum fosters a seamless transition from associate to baccalaureate nursing education. We believe baccalaureate nursing education enhances a comprehensive understanding of healthcare policy, research, systems leadership, and community health nursing. (read more…)

Katie Smith Q & A

Katie Smith
Katie Smith
Why did you choose your career field?
I worked in behavioral health for many years and worked with some wonderful nurses. I knew I was ready for a career change and went back to school when my youngest daughter was in kindergarten.
What has been your toughest challenge in life?
Raising three kids while working and going to nursing school was definitely my biggest challenge! Thankfully, many of my classmates were in the same boat, so we supported each other through it.

Three words that describe you as a person:

What is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is being a mom to my three great kids.
What person has influenced you the most in life?
My mom and aunt are both wonderful nurses—and they definitely inspired me to return to school for nursing!
What would you tell someone who is considering nursing as a career path?
I would definitely encourage them to pursue a career in nursing. There are so many opportunities in the field and so many ways to make a difference.

Registered Nurses

Provide and coordinate patient care, and educate and support patients and families.

Well above the statewide median of $18.88/hour
Median: $34.96/hour
High: $42.70/hour
Seven-county Twin Cities metro
Median: $37.69/hour
High: $44.53/hour


This career is currently in very high demand and is seeing very high growth compared to other careers. Growth rate is 11.8 percent, or well above the statewide average. There will be a need for about 20,110 new Registered Nurses to meet market demand between 2014–2024. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.
— Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

To learn more about the Nursing program and MANE at Inver Hills, contact:

Sue Frosch
Director of Nursing

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