Rural Health in Focus

Dean Linda Scott at the School of Nursing
Dean Linda Scott at the School of Nursing

Since my arrival here as dean, I have appreciated how the revered Wisconsin Idea applies directly to our work in the School of Nursing. As nurse leaders and innovators, we are committed to finding a way — often, finding new ways — to improve the health of all people in Wisconsin and beyond. Educating our students for the future of care means preparing them to address health challenges where unique barriers exist, including in rural communities.

This issue of ForwardNursing focuses on rural health care and highlights how the School of Nursing has responded to the complex health needs that characterize many parts of Wisconsin. In these pages, we share how our Center for Aging Research and Education applies its gerontological expertise to partnerships, education, and outreach across the state. You will also learn about how we are working to increase the number of Native Americans in the nursing workforce through a program called Success Through Recruitment/Retention, Engagement, and Mentorship (STREAM). We also put the spotlight on efforts to reduce the shortage of rural health care providers through the Monroe Clinic partnership with our Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which prepares students for advanced practice. And I believe you will be equally impressed and inspired by our cover story about the invaluable exposure to rural nursing practice our students experience during a winter clinical immersion in Door County. Because of these opportunities, and others like them, our students enter or continue their nursing career with the mindset needed to make the greatest possible impact.

Badger nurses lead in the profession and in society. With alumni practicing in all of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, they improve the health of our state with the policies they shape, the research questions they answer, and the partnerships they form. True to the Wisconsin Idea and the ideals of nursing, our role and presence across the state enable us to collaborate with organizations, clinics, and entire communities to address health challenges.

I am deeply motivated by the opportunity we have at the School of Nursing to educate nurses who are uniquely equipped to change lives by forging paths to better health and the delivery of care.

Linda D. Scott