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Nearly half-million dollar federal grant to advance Nursing instruction at Nicolet

Oct. 6, 2014

Two new opportunities may help Northwoods residents seeking Nursing degrees at Nicolet College. Qualified students will soon be able to move more quickly through the Nursing Assistant program, a prerequisite for the Nursing program, and those seeking a bachelor’s degree in Nursing will be able to stay in the Northwoods while doing so.

The new options are the focus of a $461,531 federal grant the college received from the U.S. Department of Labor.

nursing“There’s significant demand for nurses in the Northwoods,” said Kenneth Urban, Nicolet College interim president. “Area health care providers anticipate this demand will grow even more in the future as Baby Boomers continue to retire from the field. This grant will help students meet Nursing program entry requirements more rapidly, allowing Nicolet to train the professionals necessary to deliver high quality health care.”

One component of the grant targets individuals with some work experience in the field. For instance, Emergency Medical Responders, military medics, and corpsmen have extensive training in specific healthcare environments; some of those skills overlap with skills taught in the Nursing Assistant program.

Nicolet will use part of its funds to set up a competency testing program so that these students will be able to test out of certain course requirements in the Nursing Assistant program, which is a required academic credential for entry into the Practical Nursing program. Students earn a Practical Nursing degree first on the way to becoming a Registered Nurse. Competency testing will begin in January.

The second component packages course work so students looking to earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing will be able to take the first three years of classes at Nicolet. During the first year students complete general education requirements and the Nursing Assistant program and follow that with two years of Nicolet Nursing courses. The fourth and final year involves nursing theory and leadership courses and is completed almost entirely online with classes from a partner four-year University of Wisconsin campus. General education classes will begin Fall Semester of 2015.

“The beauty of this is that Northwoods students will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing without having to move to a four-year university,” said Lenore Blemke, dean of Health Occupations at Nicolet. “Most of the classes will be held on the Nicolet Campus. The remaining classes can be completed almost entirely online with only limited visits to a four-year campus.”

The grant to Nicolet is part of the $20 million the U.S. Department of Labor recently awarded to the Wisconsin Technical College System to advance job training in high-demand employment sectors.

The grant will also fund a success coach to help students with everything from enrolling in the program to finding employment after they graduate. Funds will also provide professional development guidance to educators and employers working with veterans and displaced workers. 

For more information, contact Nicolet at (715) 365-4493, 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4493; TDD 711 or 1-800-947-3529.