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UW-Eau Claire and partners receive national honor for nursing degree-completion program

| Julie Poquette

BSN@Home, a bachelor of science in nursing degree-completion program offered through a collaboration between six University of Wisconsin System universities including UW-Eau Claire, has been selected for recognition by the leading North American association for professional, continuing and online education.

On Oct. 17, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association will award BSN@Home the 2016 Celebration of Excellence Award for Mature Programs, which recognizes established credit or noncredit programs that have demonstrated sustained innovation. UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point are partners in BSN@Home, with UW-Extension as program host.

The award comes as BSN@Home celebrates 20 years of helping to increase the educational levels of nurses in Wisconsin. BSN@Home provides a flexible distance-learning option for practicing registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma in nursing who wish to obtain a BSN degree. Since 1996, 1,804 graduates have earned their BSN degrees through one of the program’s partner universities. Learn more about the award and history of the BSN@Home program.

Currently, more than 100 nurses are enrolled in the BSN completion program at UW-Eau Claire. Eight College of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty members participate in delivering courses and clinical experiences to these students.

“One of the advantages of our program is its flexibility, which allows nurses to continue to work and support their families while earning their baccalaureate degree,” said Gail Hanson Brenner, clinical assistant professor of nursing and BSN completion lead advisor.

Locally, area health care organizations are requiring BSN degrees upon hire or within a certain period after the time of hire, said Dr. Linda Young, dean of UW-Eau Claire’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“Nurses from the Chippewa Valley and surrounding counties throughout northwestern and central Wisconsin are able to complete core nursing courses online through the BSN@Home program," Young said. "Additionally, they complete the UW-Eau Claire general and liberal education requirements as well as foundational and capstone nursing courses unique to our nursing program. Therefore, graduates truly earn the distinctive UW-Eau Claire BSN degree. “

One of the distinctions of UW-Eau Claire’s program is the senior capstone course, which involves a clinical component that helps students build on the skills they learned while completing their associate degrees, Young said. For instance, interested students have the opportunity to take part in a seven-to-10-day cultural clinical immersion experience at Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

“The focus of the clinical is on population-based health care, and thus emphasizes the provision of nursing care within public health and community settings,” Young said. “Students have appreciated this opportunity to experience another culture in a setting distinct from their usual workplace and community environments.”

Many BSN@Home graduates also go on to graduate school at UW-Eau Claire for a master of science in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice degree, Young said.

Learn more about the BSN@Home program and how it benefits patients, employers and the nursing profession by helping nurses advance their education.

For more information about BSN degree-completion opportunities at UW-Eau Claire, contact Dr. Catherine Kenney at kromricc@uwec.edu or 715-836-3638.