Contact Us

Lee Medical Building 320
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


College Dean

Welcome to the Department of Nursing

The health care field is complex and ever changing. The nursing profession is focused on providing patients with high quality care that reflects empathy, compassion and effective communication. At USD, we strive to live our values of excellence, professionalism, relationship-centered and service as we learn together and demonstrate our commitment to excellent patient outcomes. 

Our faculty are committed to improving health care through research/scholarship, service and education. Our students learn to take a person-centered approach to care while clinical reasoning skills through clinical experiences, service learning and simulations in state-of-the-art facilities. As students at the state's leading institution for health care education, they learn with other future health care practitioners which prepares them to be effective members of their health care teams. Our students  graduate with confidence as they begin or advance their careers

Join our community of caregivers, researchers and change-makers in the USD Department of Nursing.



Learn more about the programs the Department of Nursing offers.

Meet the Department

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Nursing. Our faculty are experts in their field and contribute to  research and scholarship and lead efforts in the advancement of the nursing  profession.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Anne Pithan

Anne Pithan

Chair, Nursing/Assist Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Anne Kleinhesselink

Anne Kleinhesselink

Associate Chair, Assist Prof
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Feller

Lisa Feller

Associate Professor, Emerita of Nursing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Helene Hegge

Helene Hegge MSN,RN

Site Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Shauna Rich-Jacobson

Shauna Rich-Jacobson

DNAP Program Director


Bio Image for Faculty Member Regan Luken

Regan Luken

Student Services Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Amanda Bainbridge

Amanda Bainbridge

DNAP Assistant Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Cheryl Fischbach

Cheryl Fischbach

Lecturer, Emerita of Nursing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michele Seaton-Bertsch

Michele Seaton-Bertsch

Asst Advisor/Recruiter
Bio Image for Faculty Member Jasmine Boeke

Jasmine Boeke

Bio Image for Faculty Member Christine Doty

Christine Doty

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelli Ebbesen

Kelli Ebbesen

Faculty Advisor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Samantha Gottsleben

Samantha Gottsleben



Bio Image for Faculty Member Abby Houg

Abby Houg

Bio Image for Faculty Member Valarie Hower

Valarie Hower

Management Analyst
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tyler Kaufmann

Tyler Kaufmann

Clinical Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Tamara Keefner

Tamara Keefner

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Dawn Koch

Dawn Koch



Mental Health
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michelle Knuppe

Michelle Knuppe

Clinical Experiences Director
Bio Image for Faculty Member Yanina Leitheiser

Yanina Leitheiser

Sioux Falls Office Manager
Bio Image for Faculty Member Beth Melstad

Beth Melstad

Student Services Specialist
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lori Munter

Lori Munter

Bio Image for Faculty Member Lesli Olson

Lesli Olson

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jeannie Rossow

Jeannie Rossow

Bio Image for Faculty Member Leanne Siverhus

Leanne Siverhus

Assistant Professor of Practice
Bio Image for Faculty Member Dawn Warren

Dawn Warren

Bio Image for Faculty Member Angela Wilhelm

Angela Wilhelm

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Ashtyn Van Zee

Ashtyn Van Zee

Bio Image for Faculty Member Jean Yockey

Jean Yockey

Associate Professor


Nursing Education

Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Department Opportunities

Explore the variety of opportunities and resources available to nursing students.

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers housed in the Department of Nursing.
Nursing Student During a Patient Simulation.


Our department offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing, supporting today's health care workforce and delivery of quality patient care.

Nursing students conducting lab research.

Making a Difference Through Research

Our faculty and students are leaders not only in the clinical setting but also in research and scholarship. In the USD Department of Nursing, you'll find faculty who actively contribute research and scholarship to their fields, as well as students benefiting from close mentorship as they engage in research at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We are proud to offer programs like the Pathway to Innovation, providing our students with opportunities to explore everything from health needs assessments for immigrant and control populations to the use of naloxone by first responders in response to opioid overdoses.
East Hall during the day.

The Region's Leader in Health Care Education

USD is home to the only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school in the state. This advantage offers our students the unique opportunity to learn and train alongside peers in a variety of disciplines – equipping them with the collaborative experiences they need to be effective members of their future patients' care teams.

We are also proud to have strong relationships with the region's leading health care providers. These partnerships offer our students invaluable opportunities for developing professional connections, getting hands-on experiences and serving their communities early in their education.
Nursing students in the community during an event.

Serving Our Communities

Our position in South Dakota offers us a unique opportunity to serve rural communities. We are committed to this service, providing our students with a variety of hands-on experiences and equipping them with the skills they need to become responsive and compassionate health care leaders poised to thrive in any environment.
USD nursing students conducting in lab research work with other classmates.

USD Nursing Gets $1 Million HRSA Grant

The USD Department of Nursing has been awarded a grant from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to increase the number of nurses in rural and under-served areas throughout South Dakota. The $1,050,000 grant will be dispersed over the next three years and will be managed by Dr.  Anne Kleinhesselink (Associate Chair of Academic Programs for Nursing ). USD Nursing will partner with rural health care facilities to provide students with immersive clinical experiences in rural acute care settings in which students will gain a better understanding of the complexity rural nursing and the opportunities that rural nursing offers. USD Nursing will recruit students from diverse backgrounds and underserved communities with the intention the students will go on to practice in rural communities across the state of South Dakota.

Read More

student success story

Success story Ashley Herrity smiling.
I am learning so much about the history of this field of nursing, the more technical sides of informatics and – as always in anything we do to improve our education and/or situation – learning new valuable leadership skills. The faculty at USD has been supportive, always available and very easy to work with.

Ashley Leigh Herrity

MSN '23
B.S. Nursing '17
Senior Clinical Informatics Analyst RN, Sanford Health
Vermillion, SD

Quality Educational Experiences



The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of South Dakota are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Our Mission, Vision, Values & Philosophy


The Department of Nursing develops exceptional practitioners, leaders, and scholars who advocate for and improve the well-being of all people, particularly those in rural and underserved communities. To benefit the workforce needs of South Dakota, the region, and beyond, we emphasize academic excellence, practical experience, and public service within an interprofessional, learner-centered, collaborative environment.


The Department of Nursing will provide accomplished, forward-thinking leadership in nursing education that advances a culture of skillful and compassionate care for all.







USD Nursing is committed to producing lifelong learners who excel in their careers, are recognized as leaders, and who focus on patient-centered care and the health of society. We are committed to producing nurses who practice with emotional intelligence and exceptional communication and who rely on evidence and critical thinking to achieve excellent patient outcomes and a healthier global society. As a result, our graduates are distinctive in how they think and relate to others.

We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nursing is both an art and a science. Foundational to nursing is caring and compassion with the essence of a person to be valued, respected, nurtured, and understood. Through the spirit of inquiry, the nurse optimizes critical thinking and evidence-based practice in the delivery of holistic care across the lifespan. Nursing as a profession embraces leadership, scholarship, and excellence; nurses advocate for well-being, comfort, dignity and health for humanity. The nurse develops a unique professional identity which serves as a guiding principle for the development of leadership, knowledge, values and ethics, and professional comportment. As nurses share knowledge and engage in scientific discovery, they significantly impact the health and well-being of individuals and populations. We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nurses have a responsibility to advocate for a safe and healthy environment in which to learn and practice. The environments of our practice have two parts: the Internal Environment (our state of mind, personal beliefs and values, worldview, and level of knowledge and experience) and the External Environment (societal and professional norms, practice environment, and cultural, social, political, and economic environments). The confluence of these environments is where people grow, learn, work, and reside. Therefore, the context within which nursing care is delivered is inclusive of culture, relationships, and community.

We as a community of Nurse Scholars believe that nursing education is a synergetic partnership between the learner and educator. Building on a foundation of liberal arts, nursing education leads to a broad worldview and rich perspective that allows the learner to develop a strong personal value system and professional identity. To foster the ability to link nursing practice and ethical reasoning, nursing education incorporates evidence-based, innovative educational pedagogies and active engagement. Nursing education supports the progression of knowledge, skills, and values from novice to expert and a commitment to lifelong learning. Through ongoing discovery and professional growth, nursing education leads to the development of nurse leaders committed to improving the health and well-being of the society they serve.

Theme 1: Education and Workforce

Goal: Provide value education to build South Dakota’s future nursing workforce and improve the health and well-being of South Dakota’s citizens, meeting the state and region needs.

Theme 2: Partnerships and Community Engagement Through Public Service

Goal: Build synergetic partnerships to leverage resources, skill, expertise, and advance health and knowledge through community engaged learning and service.

Theme 3: Recognized Expertise, Innovation, Research and Scholarship

Goal: Improve healthcare through intellectual curiosity, engagement, scholarship, expert knowledge, research and innovation.

Theme 4: Leadership, People and Well-Being

Goal: Invest in people to broaden faculty and staff professional development and leadership where all people can excel and feel valued.