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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

For-profit colleges complicate WI's nursing shortage efforts

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Tuesday, March 5, 2024   

Wisconsin faces a big staffing shortage of registered nurses. Advocates hope for key solutions to bear fruit amid unease about the emergence of for-profit nursing colleges.

The Arizona College of Nursing, a commercial institution, has been trying to gain a foothold in certain Wisconsin cities. It faces scrutiny in other states over regulatory issues and claims that it leaves too many students saddled with debt and no career pathway.

Barbara Nichols, executive director of with the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, has encouraged policymakers to keep building on efforts to help more students attend nonprofit programs to fill staffing voids. She said the trouble is those schools don't have enough instructors.

"You can make more money working as a nurse practitioner with your master's [degree] or doctorate than teaching," Nichols explained.

She hopes to see results from a Wisconsin initiative soon, which started three years ago, that offers loan forgiveness for nurses who take on teaching roles.

When speaking on broader shortage issues, leaders at Arizona College of Nursing argue the educational system should provide better support to these students while they're in school, such as mentorship programs on campus.

Despite the lack of available slots, Nichols encourages aspiring nurses to prioritize schools with an established track record. While obtaining a nursing degree does require some clinical training, she notes there is some flexibility for other required courses.

"Schools have a combination of in-person as well as online, and that's the best. So, I think you need to look for those schools that provide theory in terms of online and then make sure they have good clinical placements," she continued.

Nichols said she feels it's better to wait for an opening at a longstanding, accredited program, arguing they're better suited to provide a quality nursing education. And for students who wouldn't have trouble temporarily relocating, she's convinced it's worth it to explore programs in neighboring states.

According to her organization, Wisconsin is graduating around 3,000 nurses each year, or 2,000 short of what's needed.


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