Summit seeks to recruit more American Indian nurses

November 3, 2016

The University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing is hosting a one-day Native Nations Nursing Summit on Nov. 4 as part of an ongoing effort to increase the number of nurses from American Indian communities.

The summit, which will be held at Lac du Flambeau in northern Wisconsin, is part of a Wisconsin Partnership Project called “Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council: Increasing Cultural Congruence among Nurses in Wisconsin.”

The effort, which also involves showcasing a series of recruitment videos for students and nurses around the state titled We are Healers, has support from the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, the Native American Center for Health Professions and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Already, the project has not only recruited new nursing students, but helped nurses who serve or are from American Indian tribes advance their education and training.

Nursing professors Audrey Tluczek and Mel Freitag said that health disparities necessitate the project, and increasing the number of nurses is a vital step toward closing the gaps that exist for American Indian communities in Wisconsin.

“Native Americans have some of the most concerning health disparities,” Tluczek said. “One approach to address those issues is to increase the number of native nurses to be more representative of the general population.”

Those they encourage to attend the summit include Native students and nurses, but also Tribal educators, advisors, rehabilitation counselors and anyone interested in addressing the nursing workforce disparity relative to Native Americans.

The summit, which was launched last year, had a strong initial turnout, and Tluczek and Freitag expect it to be well attended this year.

Those who seek a career in nursing or to further their training will be shown options at not only UW–Madison but also schools throughout Wisconsin to further their education.