The Wisconsin Action Coalition is working with its partners to transform health care through nursing. Wisconsin has specific health care challenges, and we recognize that an adequate, qualified and diverse nursing workforce supports quality care and healthier populations. Our partners and lead organizations - are the Wisconsin Center for Nursing and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative.




Approximately 36 percent of nurses licensed in Wisconsin are prepared at the associate degree level. If nurses are to be as effective as possible in providing high-quality care, they need better preparation as care becomes more complex and moves into the community. 
Wisconsin will create pathways for advancing nursing education to achieve 80 percent BSN preparation by 2020 through improved education systems that promote seamless academic progression. 
Efforts to mobilize Wisconsin nurses and create awareness of the our work to transform health care through nursing is a product of multiple organizations within the state working together to collect valuable input from nurses and educators along with galvanizing other stakeholders on key issues within our state. Our key educational partnership includes the Administrators of Nursing Education in Wisconsin (ANEW), comprised of leadership from both associate degree and bachelor degree programs. Our work with this group will help form the models for academic progression.


Nurses bring a unique, important perspective to health care, higher education, business and policy discussions. Faced with Wisconsin’s significant health care challenges, nurses at all levels must step up, and contribute their valued perspective.  
We understand the value of nursing leadership and that building partnerships is critical to providing opportunities for nurses in leadership roles. At the same time, nurses must develop leadership competencies and identify opportunities to contribute their value. 
Through collaborative efforts with the Wisconsin Organization of Nurse Executives, a Leadership Academy is offered throughout the state several times per year. We will continue to build on this effort and foster ongoing development and standardization of nursing leadership training content throughout Wisconsin. Developing partnerships with health professionals outside of nursing is essential to elevating the value of nurses in leadership positions. In support of goals to elevate nurses as leaders across the state,  St. Mary’s Hospital, Madison created a high level decision making position for a Chief Nursing Officer. These and other leadership initiatives will focus on increasing the number of nurses serving on boards in order to infuse statewide support for nurses as leaders. 


With Wisconsin’s population growth and an aging population, there is a shortage  of primary care providers. Legislation and regulations governing nursing practice must be updated so that nurses can provide skilled care to the full extent of their education and training. 


To ensure that nurses can practice to the full extent of their education and training, the Wisconsin Nurse’s Association will lead efforts to reform our Nurse Practice Act that currently contains restrictions to our advanced practice registered nurse workforce. We also will develop relationships with other key stakeholders to support our work in this area and to identify and learn from states without restrictions. 

Interprofessional Collaboration

To ensure high quality care, nurses, physicians and other health professionals must collaborate in education and practice, across all health care settings. 


We support building partnerships with diverse stakeholders, including physicians and other health providers, to support, spread and implement models of interprofessional collaboration in education and practice.

On June 4, 2012, we hosted a statewide conference, "Setting the Stage for Collaborative Education and Practice Among Health Care Professionals," with national speakers: Alan Morgan, National Rural Health Association, Dr, Michael Bleich,  Kim Harper, Indiana Center for Nursing & Dr. Larry Lynn, Butler University. Adding to our national experts’ perspectives, the conference held a panel discussion with an inter-professional team from UW Hospitals, Madison, addressing the need for collaboration between nursing, pharmacy, social work and medical services.  

On January 18, 2013, an invigorating symposium "Building a Foundation for Interprofessional Education," was held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing, attracting over 100 professionals and students. The symposium brought forth key learnings in the critical area of interprofessional approaches to education and practice. Dr. Madeline Schmitt, University of Rochester School of Nursing Professor Emerita and Dr. Thomas Viggiano, Mayo Medical School presented their expertise on interprofessional education as a crucial means to achieve better experience in care, better health in populations, and reduced costs in health care delivery. Interprofessional education and collaboration is an economic imperative to leverage discovery in healthcare. More than just teamwork, it represents a "shared professional covenant."  The presenters provided insights and recommendations from the 2011 Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) Expert Panel report "Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice," as a common framework to advance efforts in interprofessional education and practice.


Wisconsin’s population is becoming increasingly diverse and many residents have unique health care needs. Our workforce does not ‘mirror’ our clients. The nursing workforce must evolve to reflect these changing dynamics in order to provide culturally competent and sensitive care.

We are working with our colleagues throughout the state to communicate the value of diversifying the nursing workforce to reflect the state’s population and integrating population diversity into all of our efforts. 
The Wisconsin Center for Nursing formed a statewide Diversity Taskforce in February 2012, to lay the groundwork for diversity within Wisconsin. The group was comprised of diverse leadership from all parts of the state including representatives from public private schools, diversity nursing associations, the Wisconsin tribes, and a variety of practice settings. To identify promising practices to diversify our workforce, the taskforce has conducted an environmental scan of diversity initiatives in the state. This work provides foundation to inform policies to diversify the workforce.
The Taskforce finished its work in December, 2012 and compiled its findings and recommendations for increasing nursing diversity  in a formal report, "Enhancing Diversity in the Nursing Workforce: A Report by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing Diversity Taskforce."  This report will be presented at the upcoming statewide Diversity Conference June 10, 2013, and can also be found at www.wicenterfornursing.org


Effective deployment of the nursing workforce requires data to inform what kind of providers we will need, where, and with what skills. In Wisconsin, we have mandated nursing workforce surveys with each two year licensure period through legislation enacted in 2009.

Understanding data as the foundation for all of our efforts to prepare nurses for a transformed health care delivery system is a focus for our Action Coalition. This work provides the platform for future surveys of all health care providers ranging from collecting data on our annual nursing education programs to the Wisconsin Healthcare Data Collaborative working to promote data-driven policy decisions to improve health care for in the people of Wisconsin. 
As the designated state nursing center, the Wisconsin Center for Nursing (WCN) produces reports to inform a statewide nursing workforce plan. To support the analysis required, we capitalize upon our partners that provide us with nurse researchers for quality analysis and robust forecasting of nursing supply and demand. To support this statewide work over long term, the WCN has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to establish systems to support ongoing collection of nursing workforce data  to give leaders what they need for future workforce needs. Data from annual nursing education program surveys by the Wisconsin Center for Nursing will inform and direct this work. 




Judith Hansen, Executive Director,

Wisconsin Center for Nursing

Tim Size, Executive Director,

Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative


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