University celebrates 25th anniversary of nursing and enrollment growth  

The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the MSOE School of Nursing, and the university is celebrating in a big way. Enrollment in the nursing program is higher than ever, precipitating the need for additional degree offerings and physical space.   On Feb. 24, 2020, MSOE unveiled plans for a 2,200-square-foot expansion of its Ruehlow Nursing Complex.  

“Our laboratory expansion will include a new simulation space that will be adaptable to a variety of settings including board rooms, clinic, home care and community. There also will be dedicated areas for students to practice their skills and complete performance tests,” said Dr. Carol Sabel, RN, 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.”  

The new space also will include additional study and collaboration space for students. Lab sections are limited to eight students to ensure that proper oversight occurs in the development of safe practice. Students also will have experiences they might not otherwise be exposed to as part of an off-campus clinical. Construction will begin this spring and is expected to be complete before the start of classes in Fall 2020. 

MSOE opened its School of Nursing in 1995 after a merger with the Milwaukee County General Hospital School of Nursing (MCGHSN). The first class had 40 full- and part-time nursing students. Enrollment steadily increased every year and the need for a larger space and newer technology became evident. In Fall 2013, the brand-new $3 million, 25,000 square-foot Ruehlow Nursing Complex opened.  

Since then, an accelerated second-degree BSN program was established—pushing total nursing enrollment to record-high numbers with well over 200 students each year. Nursing laboratories are in near-constant use. That trend is expected to continue: as of January 2020, undergraduate applications for the MSOE School of Nursing are up 25% compared to last year (a year that already enrolled the largest incoming nursing class).  

“Dr. Kathleen Ruehlow ’72 has graciously agreed to step forward once again and support the MSOE School of Nursing in its time of growth,” said Dr. John Walz, MSOE president. “There is a documented shortage of nurses in the United States. 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.”   

The university also announced the addition of new degree programs and a partnership with Rogers Behavioral Health to launch a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.