Nurses are essential to a healthy healthcare system. University of Wisconsin System Interim President Tommy Thompson recognizes that the increased demand for healthcare and highly qualified nurse professionals in Wisconsin requires an increase in the number of nurse educators. Nurse educators combine their clinical experience with their academic expertise to teach the next generation of nurses. However, the number of nurse educators is decreasing which will negatively impact Wisconsin’s ability to provide quality healthcare to its citizens and their communities.
Several state-wide organizations, including the Administrators of Nursing Education (ANEW) are moving forward on legislative efforts to 1.) fund forgivable grants for nurses to pursue any of three advanced degrees required to teach professional nursing in exchange for a 3-year teaching obligation at a nursing school in Wisconsin, and 2.) forgive a portion of qualifying student loans of an out-of-state nurse educator or appropriately credentialed practicing Wisconsin nurse in exchange for a 3-year teaching obligation at a nursing school in Wisconsin. Linda Young, Dean for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, who also serves as chair of ANEW's legislative committee commented, "Thank you, Governor Thompson, for your support of the Wisconsin Nursing programs and the 10 Million Dollar ASK to address the nursing faculty shortage."
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson was hired as the interim president of the University of Wisconsin System and began his term July 1, 2020. Thompson is a well-known champion of Wisconsin’s public universities, and he has called for a renewal of the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that the UW System serves all parts of the state. He served the state as a four-term governor and his bipartisan policy proposals have had a lasting impact. As a former U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), Governor Thompson’s health policy experience has been critical as universities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.