Quality, convenience bring chief nurse back for UW-Green Bay master’s

Since the age of 19, Cindy Olli has provided compassionate care to those in need. She and fellow team members have made life-changing and life-saving decisions in emergency situations. She has counseled patients and helped them to improve their lives and their opportunities to make the most of every day. She has been an advocate for her profession.

That profession is nursing.

Starting as an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), then ADN (Associate Degree Registered Nurse), then BSN (Bachelor’s of Science credential in Nursing), Olli has worked to educate herself to better serve her patients, employers and community.

And there’s still one degree calling to her.

Olli, the chief nursing officer for Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital in Manistique, Mich., is pursuing her master’s degree in nursing. She’s doing so through UW-Green Bay’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Management in Health Systems online degree.

UW-Green Bay welcomes its first master’s degree students in nursing this fall, Olli among them. The reasons she chose UW-Green Bay — first for her bachelor’s degree, and now, her master’s degree — are both for the online format and the quality of the program.

“I chose UWGB for my undergraduate BSN program (graduating in 2006) because of the online format and following the recommendation of a co-worker,” she says. “As a full-time nurse and a busy mom, attending regular classes at our nearest college campus about an hour to 90 minutes away, was not an option. A comparison showed that an on-campus degree and the online degree at UWGB are essentially the same with the main difference simply being the delivery format of the classes.”

Olli said she believes UWGB’s RN to BSN Program adequately prepared her to pursue leadership roles in the nursing profession including her current job as CNO for Schoolcraft Memorial.

“When I saw that UWGB was going to offer a MSN degree, there was no question that this was the program that I wanted to attend,” she said. I had been looking for the past few years at many on-line graduate options and no program seemed to fit exactly what I wanted. Although there are many great online schools, for me, it was important to keep with a ‘brick and mortar’ school that offered on-line classes as part of their curriculum. I am confident that I will receive a quality education from UWGB.”

Olli was drawn to the profession from an early age, both for its noble outcomes and for the career opportunities.

“As a high school student working in the dietary department of our community hospital, I was always impressed by the nursing staff,” she said. “Working and observing in that hospital setting, helped me to decide to pursue nursing as a career path, not only for its altruistic component but because of the various opportunities for employment.”

Her decision to enter this particular career path has been affirmed time and time again.

“I enjoy the health care environment,” she says. “Nursing is a profession that blends patient care skills with technology, education, and social interactions. It is challenging to take all of these aspects and come up with a plan to provide high quality patient care. As health care continues to change, these challenges will become more difficult. Balancing quality and cost while trying to provide evidence-based best practices is, as I see it, one of my biggest challenges as a nurse leader.”

The rewards of nursing, she says, can be vast.

“The results of satisfaction surveys indicating that patients are happy with the care they receive, the implementation of programs designed to improve patient care and staff satisfaction, and the human interactions that are so critical in nursing are a few of the rewards that I look for in my position as a nursing professional.”

UW-Green Bay’s MSN program (it’s called MSN-LINC, if you’re searching online) provides advanced coursework in leadership and management to improve care at multiple levels across the continuum of healthcare settings.

“A registered nurse with a BSN Degree who is interested in improving outcomes related to quality, increasing patient satisfaction, and reducing escalating costs by serving in the role of a nurse leader or a manager at any level across the healthcare spectrum will find great success in this program,” said Janet Reilly, director of the MSN-LINC Program.

The curriculum provides students with knowledge and skills to improve outcomes in areas of quality processes, cost savings, and patient satisfaction. Core content within the curriculum includes leadership, fiscal management, evaluative methods, information systems, healthcare policy, communication, and organizational behavior. Practicum experiences will be arranged with health care facilities in students’ geographic areas.

“The MSN-LINC faculty and staff are committed to helping each student achieve success through small class sizes, personal attention and individual mentorship,” Reilly said.

For more information, see the website, email reillyj@uwgb.edu or call 1-888-674-8942.