Nursing Director Spotlight: Sara Wiggins, DNP

Sara Wiggins, DNP

Nursing professional brings tremendous experience to her new role

Sara Wiggins, DNP, RN, started her new position as the Nursing program director at Inver Hills Community College in August 2022. Sara brings more than 10 years of nursing leadership experience to her job. Her knowledge and perspective are backed by nearly 25 years working as a nurse in healthcare environments.

“Serving as the director of nursing at Inver Hills is the most exciting role in all my nursing career,” Sara said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Before arriving at Inver, Sara worked as an RN patient care supervisor for University of Minnesota Physicians, a position she held for just under three years. She worked for more than 12 years at HealthPartners, first as the supervisor of the Nurse Navigator program and then as manager of the Nurse and Behavioral Health Navigator programs.

After graduating from Lake Superior College in 1999 with her Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate Degree in Nursing (A.D.N.), Sara worked as an LPN at Interim Health Care for almost eight years. She earned her Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) in Nursing from Metropolitan State University in 2012 followed by her Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) from Capella University in 2019.

“We are extremely excited to have Dr. Wiggins join us,” said Christopher Metsgar, MBA, MS, NRP, dean of business, healthcare, and public service at Inver Hills. “Her clinical, educational, and leadership background will allow her to lead our Nursing program to ensure we meet the needs of our students and community.”

In concert with her nursing director duties, Sara serves as president and acting treasurer of the Minnesota Black Nurses Association, roles where she supports community advocacy and building partnerships to improve health disparities in all underserved populations.

Teaching philosophy

“To learn from students as they learn from you.”
Sara Wiggins, DNP, RN
Nursing Program Director
Inver Hills Community College

More about Sara…

Joseph and Sara

Sara is originally from Union City, Tennessee, a town of more than 11,000 residents and home to the world-renowned museum, Discovery Park of America. She has been married 16 years to her husband, Joseph, a small business owner in St. Paul. Sara and her husband have a blended family with six children ages ranging from 21 to 41.

In her free time, Sara helps her husband by training staff at their restaurant, Hearthside Pizza. She also loves horses of all kinds, but favorite breed of horse is the mustang.

“I hope to own one someday as I have only rode as a child,” she said. “My passion for them comes from their strength.”

Sara and Joseph reside in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Wild mustangs

(above) Sara Hearthside Pizza Sara and Joseph

Sara Wiggins Q & A

Sara Wiggins, DNP
What are your core convictions regarding the nursing profession?

Nurses are the foundation of healthcare.

What advice would you give students considering nursing as their career path?

To do it and make sure that you have a good support system.

What are the top three qualities great nurses bring to their work?

Empathy, advocacy, and compassion

Three words that describe you as a nursing educator:

What are the most challenging aspects of the nursing profession?

Burnout, compensation, and lack of self-care

What developments do you see over the next 50 years that could enhance or even revolutionize the nursing field?

More nurses becoming specialized and an increased number of nurses of color.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My mom, Ethel, because she was so strong and resilient.

One word that best describes your experience as a registered nurse (RN):


Sara Wiggins 11 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Football
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Africa
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Completing my DNP
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Open a hospice house in memory of my mom 2) Pay off all debt 3) Buy a new house
  5. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: 1940
  6. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To help evolve healthcare
  7. Your national bird if you were your own country: Peacock
  8. What you listen to while driving, e.g., music, news, podcasts: Music
  9. Person you would most like to meet: Michelle Obama
  10. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Starting IVs
  11. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Racism
Learn more about Nursing at Inver Hills by contacting:

Inver Hills Community College
Virtual Visit

More about the Nursing program at Inver Hills…

Nursing is an exceptionally rewarding career where you can make a real difference in people’s lives. Our graduates exceed the national NCLEX-RN pass rate and go on to enjoy great job security as registered nurses (RNs) in this high-demand field.

The Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) process admits you to both the Metropolitan State University B.S.N. and Inver Hills A.S. in Nursing programs.

Why study Nursing at Inver Hills?

The numbers tell the story.
Our student success is plain to see. Inver Hills nursing graduates are primed for success, achieving nearly 5 percent higher NCLEX-RN pass rates than the national average. More than 90 percent of our graduates find employment as RNs within one year of earning their A.S. degrees.

We are innovators in the nursing field.
Inver Hills faculty and staff played a major role in developing the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) curriculum. As a transformative approach to nursing education, MANE encourages a deep understanding of key nursing concepts while addressing the changing healthcare environment.

Accelerate your registered nursing career.
Advanced standing is offered to qualified licensed practical nurses (LPNs) interested in the MANE curriculum, which is designed to propel you toward graduating with your baccalaureate degree within four years.

Be surefooted and confident on your pathway.
Many students enroll at Inver Hills and complete prerequisite courses before applying to the Nursing program, which is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Minnesota Board of Nursing.

Nurses make a genuine difference.
Nurses give medicine a human face. They truly care about their patients. They go above and beyond to make sure their patients feel safe and secure during an often very difficult and frightening time in their lives. Nurses are kindness personified in the healthcare system.

You can enter the field in more than one way.
You can earn a Nursing Assistant certificate by completing one 5-credit course. You’ll get the training you need to enter the healthcare field as a nursing assistant or home health aide, and also be prepared to take the state registry exam for certification. The Nursing Traditional Track A.S. and Nursing Mobility–LPN A.S. are 75-credit degrees that prepare you for a fulfilling career as a professional registered nurse.

Nurses are in huge demand.
The ongoing nursing shortage brings job security and great wages to this career path. RNs in the seven-county, Twin Cities metro area earn a median wage approaching $43 an hour. Top earners make nearly $50 an hour. Nurses with advanced degrees make even more: nurse anesthetists in Minnesota earn a median wage topping $100 an hour.

Nursing Career Paths

Nursing is the job of a lifetime.
As a professional nurse, you’ll be able to focus your skill development on a particular specialty. RNs with career specializations expand their job opportunities, work-setting options, and scope of patient care. On top of that, nursing is a very high-wage career with a growth rate consistently well above the statewide average. Minnesota will need more than 43,000 new registered nurses (RNs) to meet market demand between 2020–2030.

Career Opportunities

Registered nurses (RNs) collaborate as integral members of healthcare teams across a variety of medical settings. As hands-on health professionals, nurses provide essential, personalized care to patients as individuals. Nurses are critical to the healing process while serving as patient, family, and community advocates.

Nurses are required to earn state licensure by taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Prospective licensed practical nurses (LPNs) take the NCLEX-PN; prospective registered nurses (RNs) take the NCLEX-RN. Registered nurses (RNs) with career specializations expand their job opportunities, work-setting options and scope of patient care. You can earn new credentials through educational programs and on-the-job training.


Registered Nurses

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

Registered nursing is a very high-wage career that pays well above the statewide median wage of $23/hour.


Median: $39.40/hour
High: $49.50/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $39.76/hour
High: $50.09/hour


In Minnesota, there are 69,000 workers employed in this very large career. This career is currently in very high demand and seeing high growth (growth rate 9 percent in U.S.) compared to other careers.

There will be a need for about 43,201 new Registered Nurses to meet market demand between 2020–2030. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education August 12, 2022

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