MSOE plans expansion of nursing school building, programs

Partners with Rogers Behavioral Health

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Milwaukee School of Engineering plans to expand the nursing complex on its downtown Milwaukee campus to accommodate growing demand for the school’s programs.

MSOE officials unveiled plans Monday for a 2,200-square-foot expansion of its Ruehlow Nursing Complex, located on the first floor of the student campus center at 1025 N. Broadway.

The school also announced it will add a new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program in partnership with Oconomowoc-based Rogers Behavioral Health.

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The expansion will include a new simulation space, dedicated areas for students to practice their skills and complete performance tests, and additional study and collaboration space for students, said Dr. Carol Sabel, chair of the MSOE School of Nursing.

“The additional lab space will help MSOE stay true to its commitment to small class sizes and guaranteed clinical placement in the sophomore year,” Sabel said.

Construction will begin in the spring and is expected to be completed before the start of classes in the fall. A 1972 graduate of MSOE, Dr. Katheen Ruehlow, is supporting the expansion, said MSOE president John Walz.

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“There is a documented shortage of nurses in the United States,” Walz said. “By expanding our laboratories and adding degree programs, MSOE is working to help fill the gap. Thank you to Dr. Ruehlow for her dedication to our nursing program.”

MSOE opened its School of Nursing in 1995 after a merger with the Milwaukee County General Hospital School of Nursing. It opened the 25,000-square-foot Ruehlow Nursing Complex to house the program in 2013.

With more than 200 students enrolled in MSOE’s nursing programs, the current labs are in near-constant use, the school said.

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As of January, undergraduate applications for the nursing school are up 25% compared to last year.

MSOE also announced Monday that it is adding several new programs, including the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program in partnership with Rogers.

The partnership will allow students to receive some required practicum hours at the behavioral health system’s locations, and several faculty members will hold joint positions with MSOE and Rogers to coordinate the students’ practicum experiences and teach specialized content.

“Less than half of those with mental health and addiction challenges actually get the help they need, and one of the biggest barriers is the shortfall of qualified mental health professionals,” said Paul Mueller, chief executive offer of Rogers Behavioral Health hospital division. “It’s gratifying to be part of this innovative new program that increases the pipeline of psychiatric nurse practitioners, who have a growing role of importance in care delivery. Most importantly, this program will ultimately help thousands of additional people get access to life-saving treatment.”

The school anticipates at least 15 students will enroll in the PMHNP program in its first year, including five nurses from Rogers Behavioral Health.

MSOE is also adding a Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing and Post-Master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate, both of which will launch in the fall. A new Gerontology Certificate launches this spring.

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