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UW Nursing School is working to meet needs of changing medical industry


New programs at the University of Wyoming’s Fay W. Whitney School of nursing are gathering momentum as the school works to better prepare students to meet the changing needs of the healthcare industry.

Many organizations are demanding that nursing job candidates have a Bachelor of Science degree, which was only available at the University in Laramie, until recently. 

UW has been working with community colleges to share curriculum and resources, to help more Registered Nurses earn their bachelors. The program is called RevolutionizingNursing Education in Wyoming, or Re-NEW.

UW Nursing School Dean Mary Burman says that instead of focusing solely on academics and theory, the Re-NEW program works to better prepare nursing students for a range of practical work environments. Burman says they’ve consulted a wide range of experts on possible material.

“It’s not just nurse educators doing this. We have really brought in nurses from hospitals, long term health, primary care, and really asked them what they wanted. ‘When you get a new nurse, what do you expect in that?’”

Burman says community college students can get their full BSN by taking classes near home and online, and doing clinical training near where they live.

The Whitney Schools also recently wrapped up the first year of its Doctor of NursingPractice program. 

Dean Burman says there’s always a need for more nurses nationwide, but these nursepractitioners will be especially valuable to Wyoming. 

Because there’s a shortage of family physicians in the state, Burman says graduates from this three-year program could help fill the gaps in service and offer more holistic treatment. For example, they could diagnose patients with diabetes.

“They’ll be able to certainly treat them with medications, if they need them. But more importantly, what we’ve built into this program is some very sophisticated courses on lifestyle management. So instead of just saying to the patient, ‘Well, you know you’ve got diabetes and here’s a pill to take,’ we can say, ‘Evidence shows that if you lose weight, you can have the same amount of control as this particular pill,’ for example.”

The second class in the DNP program will start later this summer.

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