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Nursing alumna to receive scholarship for new doctoral program

RELEASED: Oct. 5, 2011

Elaine Wednt
Dr. Elaine Wendt, professor emerita of nursing.

EAU CLAIRE — The first recipient of the Elaine Wendt Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarship will receive the award from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation Oct. 8 during the annual Nursing Alumni Walk and breakfast gathering.

Marjorie Belisle, New Richmond, a nurse practitioner with Stillwater Medical Group, works in Somerset and began her course work for the DNP program at UW-Eau Claire last year, the first year the program was offered. Belisle holds bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing, earned from UW-Eau Claire in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

The fund was established by Dr. Elaine Wendt, professor and dean emerita of the UW-Eau Claire College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Wendt was Belisle's professor and later served as her adviser in the master's program. Wendt retired in 2008 after 25 years with the university.

"I feel honored to be the first recipient," Belisle said. "I have always had a great deal of respect for Dr. Wendt and her accomplishments. It is apparent that she strongly believes in the value of higher education."

Since graduating, Belisle has served as a preceptor for UW-Eau Claire graduate students and she volunteers at the Pierce/St. Croix Free Clinic.

Marge Belisle
Majorie Belisle, scholarship recipient and DNP candidate.

"I feel the DNP will broaden my perspective as a nurse practitioner and provide me more options regarding teaching, which I thoroughly enjoy," Belisle said. "I enjoy helping students in the master's program gain confidence in their skills and grow professionally."

Wendt is an advocate of increasing access to the nursing profession and supporting nurse educators, and was instrumental in the development of the DNP program. According to Wendt, several factors led to this important change, including the shortage of academically prepared nurse educators and advances in health care and health care reform.

"The doctor of nursing practice was advanced as the preferred education to meet the needs for a changing health care system. While persons with this degree were first and foremost to be practitioners, they also would have skills that would enable them to be educators," Wendt said.

After working to establish the new program, Wendt set up a scholarship to help candidates pay for their continued education.

"Most nurses who return to school for additional education continue to be employed and need financial assistance and it is often not available through the usual financial aid channels," Wendt said. "I also wanted to recognize those nurses in our region who work closely with the nursing program and who may return to advance their education. We are so fortunate to have nurses and agencies in this region that partner with us as we educate nurses at all levels."

UW-Eau Claire is one of only two comprehensive universities in the UW System to offer the post-master's degree. During the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, the DNP has been offered as a post-master's option only. Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, both post-master's and post-baccalaureate options will be available.

More information about the DNP program at UW-Eau Claire may be found on the nursing department website. For more information about this and other scholarships available through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, visit the Foundation website or contact Kimera Way, Foundation executive director, at



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