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Kirkwood, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital Create Nursing Promise Program

By April 18, 2022April 28th, 2022No Comments

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (April 18, 2022)–Kirkwood Community College and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital have partnered to create the Senior Student Promise Program for Kirkwood Nursing students. The program is open to students who will graduate in 2022 or 2023 and will accept a guaranteed offer of employment in a unit or department at St. Luke’s identified as an area of need.

Those who qualify for the program will receive financial support from St. Luke’s. Using a three-tier award schedule, the amount a student receives will be determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as calculated from their Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form (FAFSA).

To Kirkwood Dean of Nursing Kathy Dolter, the promise program represents an amazing opportunity for students who are about to enter one of the most in-demand fields.

“This program allows our students to graduate with significantly less debt, and that’s incredibly impactful for someone just starting their career,” said Dolter. “Student debt is a huge roadblock for many seeking to establish themselves after graduation and it’s important to take advantage of any chance we have to ease that massive burden. When you consider that this promise program also goes beyond student financial support by including a certain job offer and a big sign-on bonus, this is a game-changing opportunity for Kirkwood Nursing students. I can’t thank St. Luke’s enough for their partnership and their willingness to make such a huge difference.”

In addition to financial support, Kirkwood students selected for the Senior Student Promise Program will be guaranteed employment at St. Luke’s after graduation, upon successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX) and after securing an Iowa Nursing License. Once employed by St. Luke’s, recipients will also be eligible for a sign-on bonus depending on the department they work in. Graduates will be able to join inpatient nursing units or float pools in Critical Care, Adult Acute Care, Inpatient Rehabilitation, Emergency Department, Behavioral Health or Operating Rooms.

“We hope this program eases some of the financial burden for individuals looking to pursue a career in nursing,” said Carmen Kleinsmith, St. Luke’s senior vice president and chief nurse executive. “This is one way we are tackling the nursing shortage, by supporting students financially and offering them a path to their hopefully long and rewarding career in nursing. St. Luke’s is proud to be a Magnet Hospital, which attracts high-quality nurses and provides exceptional patient care.”

Tuition support and the sign-on bonus will be fully forgiven at 18 months of employment as a nurse at St. Luke’s. Kirkwood nursing students who are interested in learning more or applying to the St. Luke’s Promise Program should email


About Kirkwood Community College
With the most credit programs of any community college in Iowa, Kirkwood Community College boasts more than 17,000 annual college-credit students, while maintaining one of the lowest tuitions in the state. All students are eligible for federal financial aid and the college offers more than $3 million in scholarships each year to students from all walks of life. Kirkwood is a convenient, innovative and visionary educational leader that strives to remain affordable and accessible.

About UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital®
UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital is a fully accredited 532-bed hospital serving a five-county area surrounding Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Founded in 1884 as Cedar Rapids’ first hospital, today it offers a wide range of patient care services with strengths in cardiac care, obstetrics, neonatology, pediatrics, rehabilitation, behavioral health, general surgery, trauma care and senior services. St. Luke’s is nationally recognized eight times as a Top 100 and is also a Magnet Hospital.