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Innovative approaches to nursing degrees

By CC Daily Staff

With states like Wisconsin facing a shortage in qualified nurses to serve patients, leaders at two colleges in the state are tackling the issue with a sense of community urgency and student affordability in mind.

NURSE 1-2-1, a new collaborative program developed by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB) and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), is launching this fall with an initial class of 24 students. The program brings together nursing educators and teaching healthcare technologies to create a single, cost-effective nursing program to meet growing healthcare demands — both in the numbers entering the profession and the depth of their nursing education.

“This program represents a new way of thinking about how to address a community issue like the nursing shortage both here in Wisconsin and nationwide,” said Susan Gallagher-Lepak, dean of UWGB’s College of Health, Education and Social Welfare and one of the program’s creators. “Both institutions are excited about how quickly we’ve been able to mobilize this solution and what it means for the nursing workforce and healthcare overall in our region.”

Excellence and affordability

Under the program, nursing students attend classes for Year 1 at UWGB, Years 2 and 3 at NWTC (obtaining an associate degree in nursing in the process) and return to classes at UWGB during Year 4 to complete a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN). The result: A traditional campus-like college experience that allows students the flexibility to enter the workforce and begin caring for patients and earning an income while finishing their degree on campus or online in Year 4.

Kay Tupala, a NWTC dean and co-creator of the program creator, said the collaboration between her college and the university is good for students, regional healthcare, community quality of life and the two colleges.

“NURSE 1-2-1 is a unique pathway for students pursuing a BSN degree. Students receiving their BSN through the program can expect to invest 50 percent less in tuition than their peers attending a traditional four-year BSN program,” Tupala said. “We’re bringing together teaching excellence and affordability in a way that hasn’t been done before and it’s very exciting for students and the community.”

Gallagher-Lepak and Tupala noted that leveraging the best from both campuses is smart educational planning.

“The program brings together UW Green Bay and NWTC’s experienced nursing educators and state of the art technology, including human patient simulators, to create a world-class student experience,” Tupala said.

Learn more about NURSE 1-2-1 and other innovative programs by reading the full article in Community College Daily.

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