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Viterbo receives $1.64 million grant for Nursing College




NURSES program hopes to recruit from areas with nursing shortages in hopes they return as nurses.

The School of Nursing at Viterbo University has received a $1.64 million grant.

The funding is part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service’s Nursing Workforce Diversity Program. 

The college will go into Trempealeau and Monroe counties and try and recruit students in middle and high school to be nurses. 

Mary Lu Gerke, College of Nursing, Health and Human Behavior dean said they have searched for areas with nursing shortage.

“If you go to them and you actually have students from those areas come and get educated, they often go back to their homes to do their work as a nurse,” she said.

Objectives during the four-year grant process include increasing awareness about the nursing profession and enrolling 48 people to the program.

It’s also designed to hire nurses from different backgrounds and close the gap for nurses available in low income areas. 

Students recruited would also spend time on campus .

“We would have what we’re going to call some type of on-campus boot camp, where we bring them in and expose them to simulation,” Lu Gerke said. “Help them get prepared to enter the culture of a university.”

The 2017-2021 goals, as stated in the press release were as follows:

  • Increase awareness, interest and knowledge of the nursing profession, including academic requirements, through customized outreach activities to rural, disadvantaged students in grades 6–12, specifically targeting districts with high Hispanic or low income populations.
  • Increase enrollment of rural, disadvantaged students into the BSN program to impact the rural nursing workforce shortage and improve rural health outcomes.
  • Enroll up to 12 new students in the NURSES program annually and retain 80% of NURSES students to graduation.
  • Provide financial support in the form of scholarships and stipends to eligible Viterbo University NURSES students.
  • Enhance cultural competency and the understanding of rural health for all BSN students and faculty.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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