Top Wisconsin Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs
Wisconsin is bracing itself for a massive nursing shortage over the next 20 years. Thus, various efforts are being made to prevent this from happening. One of the most significant is tasked with producing more Nurse Educators, so that it is possible for schools to have more enrollments and ensure that no more students have to be turned away. At present, the 20 schools registered with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have had to refuse entry to 1,424 students every academic year due to shortage of staff and resources.
One initiative is the Nurses for Wisconsin, which has received a $3.2 million grant from the UW System. Four campuses are taking part in this initiative and they offer such things as loan forgiveness and fellowships. It is hoped that this will encourage nurses to further their education so that they earn a more advanced degree and, potentially, become Nurse Educators. So far, it seems as if these efforts are working, as some 17% of all students are enrolled in Advanced Practice degrees.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin will need an additional 20,000 nurses by 2035. Faculty staff has an average age of 58. Additionally, at least 10% of the total workforce is planning to leave or retire within the next decade, potentially exasperating the problem.
The largest problem in Wisconsin is the lack of qualified Nurse Educators. There is plenty of interest in the field of nursing but simply not enough staff to deal with this interest. Hence, most of the efforts in the state are geared towards increasing the number of educators. As such, the state is also trying to make the profession more interesting than clinical work at master’s degree level, something that traditionally earns a better salary.
However, the focus is not solely on Nurse Educators. The demographics of the state are changing tremendously. The population is both growing and aging, which is changing the face of healthcare overall. People are having more complex illnesses and the obesity, diabetes and heart disease rates are increasing too. Additionally, hospitals are trying to shorten the length of time people people spend in hospital beds by creating more community care center. Finally, the Affordable Care Act has massively increased the number of people of who can access healthcare. All of this means that the nursing workforce has to change and adapt to meet these new demands.