UWO making history by starting new graduate nursing program

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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – Not only is the UWO College of Nursing celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, but it’s also celebrating recent news that it was approved for Wisconsin’s first doctoral-level certified registered nurse anesthetist or CRNA program.

According to College of Nursing Dean, Leslie Neal Boylan, “When we started to research this, we talked with our clinical partners, they were saying that nurses were going out of state for education and very often they don’t come back. So now, having this program, they’re going to be educated here and they’re more likely to stay here.”

UW-Lacrosse currently offers a similar program, but it’s a master’s degree. It is working to become a doctorate program too.

But, with a doctoral nurse practitioner degree already offered at UWO college officials thought they were a good candidate to expand by adding a CRNA program.

“The accrediting body for nurse anesthetist is requiring doctoral preparation, so we were in a good position to be approved for this because we already had a doctoral program,” says Neal-Boylan.

Much like the undergraduate and graduate students already studying at UWO, the CRNA students will participate in classroom learning as well as simulation lab work. They’ll also need clinical experience in a variety of cases and as the university has been working towards its accreditation, many partners have stepped up to help.

Neal-Boylan says, “We’re very very fortunate to have partners that really support all of our programs and so they got on board right away. And now since we’ve been working on this and developing it we’ve had other hospitals who’ve said we want to be part of this.”

Like other UWO nursing programs, the CRNA one is expected to be very competitive. Only 12 students will be accepted into the first year program which will start in June of 2017. With less than a year to go until classes start, the university is opening the application process.