Fill­ing a Ma­jor Need

Mul­ti­ple colleges of­fer pro­grams to train nurses.

Milwaukee Magazine - - Special Advertising Section - BY B.L. HO­GAN

Wis­con­sin is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a short­age of trained nurses, and the rapidly evolv­ing health care pro­fes­sion re­quires more peo­ple who have four-year or ad­vanced nurs­ing de­grees. The fol­low­ing schools are work­ing to ful­fill these needs and train stu­dents who are ded­i­cated to pa­tient care.


“If you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced nurs­ing care,” says Janet Wes­sel Kre­jci, “and you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced some­one who re­ally con­nects with you and knows how to man­age your in­di­vid­ual health jour­ney suc­cess­fully, that’s a very, very pow­er­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Kre­jci, dean and pro­fes­sor at Mar­quette Univer­sity’s Col­lege of Nurs­ing, wants grad­u­ates of the school to give their pa­tients that kind of ex­pe­ri­ence. Kre­jci, who re­turned to Mar­quette in Jan­uary af­ter teach­ing there from 1998 to 2009, touts the breadth of the school’s nurs­ing pro­grams – in­clud­ing bac­calau­re­ate, mas­ter’s and doc­toral – along with nurse prac­ti­tioner spe­cial­ties, a nurse mid­wifery pro­gram and a planned nurse anes­the­sia pro­gram.

These pro­grams, she says, em­pha­size Je­suit ed­u­ca­tional val­ues of lead­er­ship, ser­vice, faith and ex­cel­lence. Which all comes back to the pro­gram’s cen­tral fo­cus: Nurs­ing ed­u­ca­tion at Mar­quette is a “trans­for­ma­tional jour­ney” for its stu­dents, she says, “so that Mar­quette nurses, whether they’re car­ing for some­one in a hos­pi­tal in an un­der­served area or an­other coun­try, pro­vide sci­en­tific, ev­i­dence-based, safe and out­come-driven care with a fo­cus on the whole per­son.”


The Col­lege of Nurs­ing at UW-Mil­wau­kee is the state’s largest nurs­ing school, and it’s ded­i­cated to play­ing a cru­cial role in south­east­ern Wis­con­sin.

“We stay true to our mis­sion of be­ing a ma­jor, ur­ban doc­toral re­search univer­sity meet­ing the di­verse needs of Wis­con­sin’s largest met­ro­pol­i­tan area,” says Kim Litwack, dean and pro­fes­sor at the col­lege. “We are com­mit­ted to the con­cept of com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, in prac­tice and re­search. We pro­vide a wide ar­ray of de­gree pro­grams with world-renowned fac­ulty with ex­per­tise in pe­di­atrics, women’s health, vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions, geri­atrics, qual­ity and safety, among oth­ers.”

There are also new and in­no­va­tive ar­eas of study, in­clud­ing a new Mas­ter in Nurs­ing pro­gram, which pre­pares stu­dents with de­grees other than nurs­ing for nurse lead­er­ship roles, and the unique Mas­ter in Sus­tain­able Peace­build­ing pro­gram, which helps pre­pare its grad­u­ates to be “change-mak­ers” through­out the world.

“We pre­pare strong grad­u­ates from all pro­grams,” says Litwack, “pro­vid­ing care­givers who will meet the care needs of in­di­vid­u­als, families and pop­u­la­tions, ed­u­ca­tors who will ad­vance the next gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents, as well as nurse schol­ars who will ad­vance nurs­ing sci­ence.”


The Mil­wau­kee Area Tech­ni­cal Col­lege is un­der­go­ing a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of its nurs­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, thanks to a $2.3 mil­lion grant from the United Health Foun­da­tion.

“The pro­jected short­age of reg­is­tered nurses has been iden­ti­fied as one of the great­est work­force chal­lenges fac­ing the health-care in­dus­try,” said Dr. Vicki J. Martin, MATC pres­i­dent. “Part­ner­ing with the United Health Foun­da­tion to pre­pare the next gen­er­a­tion of reg­is­tered nurses will have a pro­found im­pact on stu­dents, the health care in­dus­try and the com­mu­ni­ties we both proudly serve.”

The grant, an­nounced in Jan­uary, en­ables MATC to dou­ble en­roll­ment in its nurs­ing pro­gram be­gin­ning in fall 2017, in­crease ca­pac­ity to grad­u­ate an ad­di­tional 100 stu­dents by year three, hire 16 new nurs­ing pro­gram in­struc­tors and sup­port re­cruit­ment of low-in­come stu­dents.

“Nurses are in very high de­mand,” says Va­len­cia Reyes, who grad­u­ated from the pro­gram in May but landed a nurs­ing job a month be­fore. “There are many job open­ings now. I’ve heard this from other nurs­ing stu­dents, too. When man­agers find out you are grad­u­at­ing from MATC, they re­ally want to talk with you about work­ing for them.”

Reyes, who met for­mer sec­ond lady Jill Bi­den at MATC’s grad­u­a­tion, adds: “This ex­pan­sion will help more stu­dents like me pur­sue their dreams of be­com­ing a nurse.”


Dr. Carol Sa­bel, who’s been chair for a year of the Mil­wau­kee School of Engi­neer­ing’s School of Nurs­ing, says she was im­pressed when she ar­rived with the school’s “huge be­lief in hands-on learn­ing.”

“Our sim­u­la­tion cen­ter is just won­der­ful,” she says, and it’s used ex­ten­sively in the cur­ricu­lum, both for clin­i­cal instruction and in the class­room – some­thing she at­tributes partly to the fact that the school is part of an in­sti­tu­tion of higher learn­ing in engi­neer­ing.

The nurs­ing school has 250 stu­dents, most of them un­der­grads. It has an ac­cel­er­ated bach­e­lor’s in nurs­ing “sec­ond-track” pro­gram, in which stu­dents who have their de­grees in sub­jects other than nurs­ing can qual­ify for a bach­e­lor of nurs­ing in just 18 months. Plus there’s an MSN pro­gram in health sys­tems man­age­ment that com­bines nurs­ing classes with man­age­ment classes in MSOE’s Rader School of Busi­ness.

As for the sim­u­la­tion cen­ter, it’s equipped with high-fi­delity manikins for the stu­dents to prac­tice on, with sep­a­rate units for dif­fer­ent med­i­cal spe­cial­ties. Pro­fes­sors can watch the stu­dents’ ac­tions from be­hind one-way mir­rors, and speak to them through the manikin, as if the pa­tient were talk­ing di­rectly to them. “It’s an up and com­ing way of ed­u­cat­ing nurs­ing stu­dents,” she says.


There is a push in the nurs­ing pro­fes­sion to in­crease the num­ber of nurses with bach­e­lor’s de­grees. Dr. Ju­dith West­phal sees that push at work at UW-Oshkosh’s Col­lege of Nurs­ing.

“There has been an ex­plo­sion of knowl­edge in health care” in re­cent years, West­phal says, and bach­e­lor’s de­grees equip grad­u­at­ing nurses with the skills and abil­ity to pro­vide safe care and pick up the nu­ances and changes in pa­tients’ con­di­tion.

UW-Oshkosh has sev­eral ways of get­ting to that bach­e­lor’s de­gree. Most of its un­der­grad­u­ate nurs­ing stu­dents, 509, are in a tra­di­tional nurse ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram aimed at a bach­e­lor of sci­ence in nurs­ing, West­phal says, but sub­stan­tial num­bers

are in an ac­cel­er­ated BSN pro­gram, for peo­ple who have bach­e­lor’s de­grees in other fields, that al­lows them to get the BSN in just a year. Oth­ers are in the school’s BSN at Home pro­gram, which al­lows them to do course and clin­i­cal work re­motely. The col­lege also has

170 grad­u­ate stu­dents work­ing to­ward be­com­ing nurse ed­u­ca­tors, fam­ily nurse prac­ti­tion­ers, nurse anes­thetists and clin­i­cal nurse lead­ers.


In re­sponse to the de­mand for qual­ity nurs­ing in the south­east­ern Wis­con­sin re­gion and be­yond, Mount Mary Univer­sity of­fers an RN to BSN Com­ple­tion pro­gram.

Mount Mary’s pro­gram for work­ing pro­fes­sion­als has been con­structed with an em­pha­sis on health care-spe­cific lead­er­ship skills needed to pre­pare nurses for su­per­vi­sory, ad­min­is­tra­tive and other man­age­ment roles. The pro­gram is open to both women and men, and can be done en­tirely on­line.

“The health care in­dus­try needs bold nurses who can lead with con­fi­dence to pro­vide the ex­cep­tional and unique care that nurses bring to pa­tients,” says Ch­eryl Bai­ley, dean of the School of Nat­u­ral and Health Sciences. “We have cre­ated a pro­gram that places tremen­dous value on the real-world ex­pe­ri­ence of our stu­dent-pro­fes­sion­als.”

The lead­er­ship-fo­cused cur­ricu­lum in­cludes top­ics di­rectly rel­e­vant to the health care in­dus­try, such as com­mu­ni­ca­tion, tech­nol­ogy, ethics, pa­tient-care, nu­tri­tion, busi­ness and ad­vo­cacy.

Nurs­ing sim­u­la­tion at Mar­quette Univer­sity

MATC’s Va­len­cia Reyes meets grad­u­a­tion speaker Jill Bi­den.


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