MILWAUKEE— An all-women’s college in Milwaukee is set to launch its first four-year, fully on-campus BSN nursing program this fall. 

Mount Mary University plans to accept 24 students for the program’s first class and is currently taking applications.  

Each subsequent year will admit 48 new students.

A 6,500 square-foot facility is nearly finished, with a scheduled completion date of March 1. It will house the Health Sciences Center, Nursing Skills Lab, and Interprofessional Simulation Lab.  

First-year students will focus on core curriculum courses. The subsequent three years will be set aside for nursing-specific classes and clinicals. Clinical rotations will be set up via partner facilities through southeastern Wisconsin.

Delainie Casey is an accepted student to this new program. She transferred from Marion University and already has a CNA background.

“Nursing is very rewarding and you get to help a lot of people and make great connections,” she said. “The classes are tough, but at the end, it’ll be totally worth it.”

Casey's father and brother are both registered nurses.

Mount Mary’s program comes at a time when an already troubling nursing shortage nationwide has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even before the pandemic, we knew we had a nursing shortage and we were projecting that shortage to hit in 2020,” said Dr. Kara Groom, Mount Mary’s nursing department chair. “When you add the pandemic, which is straining our nurses and healthcare system, the need for new nurses is absolutely critical.”

In 2018, a study from the Wisconsin Center for Nursing showed statewide, out of 50,062 nurses polled, 28,255 of them said they would leave direct patient care in 10 or more years. 10,102 said they would leave in 5 to 9 years.  

Groom also stressed the importance of diversity in nursing.

“We know the diversity in nursing does not reflect the diversity in our community and we have a mission here at Mount Mary to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce,” she said.