Impact: Education

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Columbia College of Nursing’s promising future is built on solid history 

For more than 100 years, Columbia College of Nursing has been affiliated with Columbia Hospital and today enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with the entire Columbia St. Mary’s (CSM) system.  This includes Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation, which provides financial support for nursing scholarships, technology upgrades and other initiatives at the college.

The college’s faculty is known across the country for its impressive combination of academic credentials, clinical experience and community involvement.

Exciting changes are ahead For the last three years, the Columbia College of Nursing is proud to have one of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates in the state, at an average of about 94%.
As Columbia St. Mary’s Columbia and current Lake Drive campuses consolidate into one hospital, the Columbia College of Nursing will have a new home at CSM's East Lake Office Center, 4425 N. Port Washington Road in Glendale. 

Nursing students will continue to benefit from the use of all the Columbia St. Mary’s sites to further their education and practical experiences. In fact, in October 2010, students will have the unique opportunity to assist patients in their move to the new Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee. 

In addition to relocating, the college is in the process of achieving accreditation for direct admission, which will allow students from any accredited college who have fulfilled the nursing program prerequisites to transfer to Columbia College of Nursing to complete their nursing education.  (Currently, only students from Mount Mary College are permitted to take part in the college’s upper division curriculum.)  Generous support of $100,000 from Columbia St. Mary’s Foundation has enabled the college to purchase the required software platform for application, registration, financial aid, grading, transcripts, scholarship programs and other services needed to perform independently.

In 2012, Columbia College of Nursing will expand its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion program to include an online format. Conventional BSN programs are inconvenient for working nurses to complete due to schedule constraints, but the online format will eliminate this barrier. The format will also allow enrollment by employees of Ascension Health, Columbia St. Mary’s parent company, from all over the country.

With these changes, Columbia College of Nursing intends to more than double its enrollment within the next five years.  The country's nursing shortage is projected to continue to grow for many years to come.  Expanding enrollment will help to meet the needs of the community, as well as the population at large.

Building a platform for success
Columbia College of Nursing is able to grow based on established success and outstanding achievements that have solidified its reputation for academic excellence and community involvement.

Jill Winters, PhD, RN, Dean, Professor and CEO, Columbia College of Nursing 

Jill Winters, PhD, RN, Dean, Professor and CEO, Columbia College of Nursing

Passing of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is required for licensure in Wisconsin to practice as a registered nurse.  For the last three years, the Columbia College of Nursing is proud to have one of the highest NCLEX-RN pass rates in the state, at an average of about 94 percent.

“Our NCLEX-RN pass rate success can be attributed to the guidance of a NCLEX Preparation Coordinator, who works closely with our students every step of the way,” said Jill Winters, PhD, RN, Dean, Professor and CEO, Columbia College of Nursing.  Students can take advantage of pre-testing benchmarks to identify areas of weakness, test taking strategies to learn better approaches to the exam, a two-day test prep review and individual tutoring.

Over the past 12 months, approximately 60 students have graduated from the college, and nearly 100 percent of those have gone on to careers in nursing. The college provides career and counseling services through an academic advisor, an associate dean of assessment, evaluation, student support, the employee assistance program at Columbia Hospital and other services at the Mount Mary College campus.

The healthcare needs of individuals, families and the community demand a highly qualified nursing workforce prepared for the challenges of the future. “Columbia College of Nursing is committed to generating knowledge to improve practice and preparing nurses who will make a difference,” said Winters.  “We have a well-earned reputation for graduating nurses who have the capacity for high-level critical thinking, while caring deeply about the profession, our communities at large, and the individuals for whom they provide care.”

In the community
Columbia College of Nursing operates El Centro de Salud in partnership with the United Community Center, a Hispanic organization serving people on Milwaukee’s near south side. El Centro provides immunizations, physicals, health education, wellness promotion, screening and support to students of United Community Center preschool, elementary and middle schools, as well as to adults in family and senior programs.  The center is managed by Columbia College of Nursing faculty and provides services through a nurse practitioner and nursing students.

According to Winters, “Columbia College of Nursing students learn valuable lessons about cultural difference through El Centro de Salud, while focusing on illness prevention and health promotion.”

Click here for more information about Columbia College of Nursing.


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