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Taking the LEAD for Nursing in Wisconsin:

Leading by Example for Advancing Degrees

As part of the State Implementation Program grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation®, WCN is offering a unique program designed to recognize organizations who are paving the way to advance levels of nursing education in response to the IOM Report Recommendations:

  • Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020.
  • Double the number of nurses with a doctorate degree by 2020.
  • Ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning.

Many efforts are underway in Wisconsin. Large or small, all organizations can be part of this important initiative by taking creative approaches to meet the needs of their own nursing workforce. All organizations can learn from each other, and share their journey in the true spirit of collaboration. We encourage you to participate in this important learning environment. It’s the Wisconsin way!

Would you like to be recognized for what you are doing to advance nursing education? Tell us about it.

LEAD Organization Recognition Program Presentation

Nursing in the Aspirus System: Strategies to Achieve 80% BSN

Over the last year, the CNO group within the Aspirus system (Link) has systematically pursued strategies to increase the percentage of BSN nurses within our system.  We began with the formulation of our strategic goals last summer.  One of the goals was to develop a plan to facilitate the attainment of an 80% BSN workforce.  That goal was to be achieved over the next year (summer 2015 to summer 2016).

Two of the business unit CNOs and our system CNO volunteered to spearhead the attainment of this goal on behalf of the 8 hospitals within our system, as well as the clinics and post-acute care.  One of the first steps was to determine our baseline of nurse education preparation by entity, so a spreadsheet was developed showing the percentage of nurses who had attained the various levels of educational preparation.  As expected, since most of our facilities are in the more rural areas of central to northern Wisconsin and in the upper peninsula of Michigan, the percentage of ADNs was high.  It ranged from 48% to 73% across the system.

UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing and All Saints Hospital, Racine, Collaborate to Offer Innovative RN-to-BSN Program

Kim Litwack PhD, RN, FAAN, APNP,
Interim Dean at the UW College of Nursing at the UW-Milwaukee

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing Report (IOM, 2011) recommends that 80 percent of registered nurses have a BSN degree by the year 2020.  The IOM recommendation is based on the higher level of knowledge needed to care for complex patients, as well as evidence that notes improved outcomes for patients cared for by nurses with higher education levels. The Wisconsin Center for Nursing 2014 RN Workforce survey of all registered nurses licensed in Wisconsin noted that 44.1% have a baccalaureate degree and another 11.7% have a master’s degree or higher.

Multiple studies suggest that barriers to BSN completion include cost, time, family commitments and lack of employer support. Motivators to BSN completion include decreased length of program, tuition reimbursement and encouragement from employers and family members.  Because the demand for highly educated nurses is expected to outpace most other occupations over the next decade, we must continue to find ways to remove barriers to the BSN degree.

Other LEAD Organizations

Bellin Health System and Bellin College Partner to Meet the IOM Challenge

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, advised that changes in nursing education are necessary in order for current and future generations of nurses to deliver safe, quality, and patient-centered care...

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