We are delighted to report a new partnership to support our distance education site in Marshfield, Wisconsin. This July, Marshfield Clinic Health System finalized the purchase of Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. The hospital is now being called Marshfield Medical Center. The hospital had been the site of our distance education program for the past 30 years.
Marshfield Clinic has signed an agreement to continue to support our undergraduate nursing program in Marshfield. They are providing building space in the hospital, resources, and some funding for FTE. We are quite grateful for the many years of support we received through Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital; however, we also appreciate the opportunities Marshfield Clinic will provide for our students in central Wisconsin. With this partnership we hope to continue to help meet the demand for nurses in that part of the state. Wisconsin is facing a significant nursing shortage, with nearly 41 percent of the nursing workforce expected to leave direct patient care within the next ten years, primarily due to retirements.
This fall marks the 30th anniversary of the start of our distance education site in Marshfield. In 1987-1988, the first cohort of UW-Eau Claire undergraduate students started taking nursing courses in Marshfield, with the initial Marshfield Site, with the majority of them continuing to work as nurses in central Wisconsin.
The original partnership to create the distance education site in Marshfield was established with Saint Joseph’s Hospital in 1986. Around that time, the hospital administration had decided to phase out its three-year diploma program which it had operated for many years; however, it determined there was a need for nurses with baccalaureate degrees in central Wisconsin and therefore sought out the relationship with UW-Eau Claire. Dr. Patricia Ostmoe, Dean of the School of Nursing from 1982-1995, was instrumental in establishing the partnership.
With the support of Marshfield Clinic, we are looking forward to many more years of assisting students in the region with attaining their goal of becoming nurses with bachelor’s degrees and of meeting the needs of the community for baccalaureate prepared nurses. Many of the graduates of our traditional undergraduate program at the Marshfield Site and of the BSN Completion program later go on to seek master’s and doctoral degrees through our nursing graduate programs. They continue to work in their communities in advanced professional and practice nursing roles, including as nurse practitioners, nurse educators, and nurse administrators.
Please see the 2017 Alumni Newsletter for the full article.