We are facing "a crisis" in the need for nurses in clinical settings, retiring nurses, educators and a shortage of nurses in the pipeline according to Kara Groom, chief nurse administrator and department chair at Mount Mary University. The Wisconsin Center for Nursing projects says that by 2040, the workforce shortage of registered nurses will reach nearly 43 percent if current programs do not expand to meet the projected demand for 7,500 additional nursing graduates annually by 2020.
It’s a problem that will only get worse with time if educators do not adapt. Nursing schools have been searching for ways to graduate enough people with nursing degrees to keep up with demand. In the Milwaukee area, that’s meant a growing number of institutions have been teaming up to get nurses into the workforce quickly while still enabling them to pursue higher nursing degrees.
Mount Mary, Waukesha County Technical College and Milwaukee Area Technical College are partnering together on the Nursing 1-2-1 program. The program allows students to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), licensure as a Registered Nurse, and move on to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) — all within four years and while incorporating workforce experience.
"With the demand, I think the encouraging thing for nursing students is there are jobs and there is a nursing need for them to fill no matter how part-time or full-time they want to work and no matter what clinical setting they find that’s gonna be right for them," says Groom.
Groom, along with Waukesha County Technical College Associate Dean of Nursing Michele Nelson, joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich to explain the Nursing 1-2-1 program goals and its mission to educate quality nurses while preparing them for the demands of the field: