SSM Health and UW-Green Bay announce partnership for MSN Leadership and Management program

Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Management—a fully online graduate program—has announced a partnership with SSM Health, in which SSM Health employees have their application fees waived when applying to the MSN program.

Value is created for both parties in such partnerships, as academic institutions gain a pipeline of students in health professions, while health system opportunities stemming from such partnerships include enhancing patient care as employees who are also students lead research and quality improvement (QI) projects, learn current best practice and develop advanced knowledge and skills for career advancement.

“Nurse leaders innovate and address challenges in healthcare delivery, especially during change and crisis, like the recent pandemic,” says UW-Green Bay’s Chair of the program, Janet E. Resop Reilly, DNP, APRN-BC, RN. “They direct other nurses and healthcare professionals to provide excellence in patient care. Through 2028, much faster than average growth of 17-18 percent is expected in the fields of nursing and healthcare administration and management.”

This flexible MSN program is designed to provide nurses the critical skills and knowledge to be innovative, effective nurse leaders, and offers QI experiences to enhance healthcare performance and patient outcomes. Participants in the program receive individualized leadership and management practicum experiences and complete a QI project in a healthcare organization or system where they reside. Abundant opportunities to engage with peers and expert leaders and managers in the field are integrated in the courses.

“Leadership is an inherent part of every nursing role, so this program is an opportunity for a staff nurse considering a leader or manager role, or an experienced nurse leader or manager, to build upon previous and new experiences to develop into transformational leaders and managers, which are critical for today’s challenging healthcare needs,” Reilly said.

About SSM Health

SSM (previously Sister of St. Mary) Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system.




UW-Green Bay nursing named ‘Best Value’ top 30 program has published its 2017-2018 ranking and places UW-Green Bay as a Top 30 ‘Best Value’ online RN to BSN Degree Programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs opportunities for registered nurses (RNs) are expected to increase 16% by 2024. While positions are available for nurses with an associate’s degree, many employers will only hire RNs who have earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). See the rankings.

Renee Payne

Global connections: Master of Nursing (MSN-online) student Renee Payne takes her first steps on campus

UW-Green Bay student Renee Payne stepped foot on campus for the first time at Saturday’s 2017 commencement ceremony (May 13, 2017), despite graduating with a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN-LINC) in Leadership and Management in Health Systems degree. In fact, she worked toward her degree from across the United States and around the globe.

The Florida native knew she wanted to become a nurse at 14 when she volunteered at a local hospital. After receiving her degree as a registered nurse (RN), she met her husband, a U.S. Air Force officer. Following his career, they moved on average every 1 to 2 years from Germany to South Korea and throughout the United States.

Payne wanted to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), but she didn’t know how with the frequent moving and young children at home. After hearing about UW-Green Bay’s online BSN program from another Air Force spouse, she applied. After completing her BSN, she continued her education in UW-Green Bay’s MSN program.

Payne says she feels connected to her professors despite the distance.

“I did not feel like the professors were on the other side of the world,” said Payne. “They were very understanding and flexible, and they treated me just as they would have if I had been in Wisconsin taking classes. Even though I’ll be meeting them face-to-face for the first time this weekend, I feel as if I already know them because of our online interactions.”

Payne’s career goals include becoming a nurse leader and educator. She would like to highlight the importance of safe staffing levels in patient outcomes and be a voice for nursing and patients via political activism.

“I feel as if it is my responsibility to speak up and fight for my patients and my nurse colleagues,” said Payne. “That’s the reason I went back to school to obtain my MSN.  I want to be part of a solution to improve patient outcomes in the U.S. as well as prepare the generation of nurses after me to continue to make improvements.”

She is now living in Dayton, Ohio with her family. Her husband, who is retired from active duty, is a civilian contractor at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Though she has been around the world, she is thrilled to travel to Wisconsin for the first time for her graduation.

Story by May ’17 Marketing and University Communication graduate Amy Bauer.

UW-Green Bay’s Nursing programs earn full CCNE accreditation

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay learned recently that a comprehensive review of its undergraduate and graduate programs in Nursing has resulted in maximum accreditations from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The CCNE, a national nursing accreditation agency officially recognized by the US Secretary of Education, evaluated both UW-Green Bay’s longstanding Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and relatively new Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs. The University received confirmation in November that its BSN program was re-accredited for the maximum 10-year period, through 2025, and that the MSN was accredited for the maximum five-year period for new programs. Each program met all accreditation standards and had no compliance concerns.

“Specialized accreditation speaks to the high level of quality in the UW-Green Bay nursing programs and well-qualified faculty,” says Prof. Susan Gallagher-Lepak, RN, PhD, who chairs and directs the University’s Nursing programs. “This ‘seal of approval’ from CCNE helps students to know that they will receive an excellent education at UW-Green Bay.”

For more than 30 years, UW-Green Bay’s Professional Program in Nursing has specialized in “degree completion” — educational offerings for registered nurses who hold two- or three-year nursing diplomas and seek to complete additional coursework to fulfill bachelor’s degrees requirements.

The BSN program at UW-Green Bay began in 1981 with on-campus courses, and added its popular online track in 1995. The program is widely recognized as a leader in online nursing education, with a majority of students today enrolled online. The 400 or so students declaring BSN majors make Nursing one of UW-Green Bay’s largest academic programs.

The University launched its master’s program in 2012, offering the MSN with an emphasis in “Leadership and Management in Health Systems.” The program graduated its first master’s degree recipients in May 2015. While the national accrediting body, the CCNE, requires a program be operative for a minimum of two years before being eligible for evaluation, the accreditation that UW-Green Bay has just received is retroactive. The program’s first seven graduates in May, then, graduated from an official CCNE-accredited MSN program.

More information about CCNE accreditation can be found at the organization’s, website More information about the UW-Green Bay Nursing program can be found at


Seven receive new master’s in nursing

Nursing masters graduates

Seven nurses became the first graduates of UW-Green Bay’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Management Health Systems program at the May 2015 commencement. The degree provides advanced coursework in leadership and management to improve care at multiple levels across the continuum of healthcare settings. All seven graduates — in alphabetical order, Jacquelyn Bailey, Clinton, Md.; Denise Gloede, Madison; Jason Mattson, Green Bay; Martha Pettineo, Lake Bluff, Ill.; Alison Reitzner, Neenah; Ramona Speier, Green Bay; and Roxanne Tienor, Suring — participated in the commencement ceremonies. Bailey, who made the longest commute, has been an active advocate for her profession and met with legislators on Capitol Hill as part of national Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., this past March. The new master’s degree gives the UW-Green Bay Professional Program in Nursing alumni in three separate degree areas: the registered nurse (RN) to BSN Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a bachelor’s in Health Information Management and Technology, and the new master’s.


Faculty note: Nursing’s Tyczkowski featured on faculty-development website

Assistant Prof. Brenda Tyczkowski of Nursing, academic director of the Health Information Management Technology collaborative online master’s program for UW-Green Bay, was selected to participate in a web-based project to promote best practices in online learning. The sponsoring consortium — led by outreach, distance learning and continuing education specialists from partner institutions UW-Extension, Cal-Irvine and the University of Washington — calls itself ASG or Actions, Solutions, Growth: University Partners. Tyczkowski participated in the “ASG Best In Show” initiative showcasing how experienced online faculty design, develop, and teach online courses. A collection of instructional overview videos and topic-focused interview videos and tip sheets provide answers to commonly asked questions. To listen and learn about Tyczkowski’s online teaching experiences.

Her commute to ceremony? 2,000 miles


Well over 50 nursing graduates were eligible to participate in Saturday’s Commencement, but none had a longer distance to cover in order to make the short walk across  stage to receive his or her diploma.

Lehi Lazo (left) took time off from work and traveled in from Oxnard, Calif., to claim the distinction, it is believed, of being the graduate with the longest commute to the May 2014 ceremony. She posed with Associate Prof. Susan Gallagher-Lepak, pre-ceremony, to mark the occasion.

Lazo’s one previous visit to Green Bay was to attend a Packers game, years ago. She works as an RN at Ventura County Medical Center as a pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit nurse. She took two to three online courses per semester through BSN-LINC (the national, online nursing program) offered by UW-Green Bay.

Gallagher-Lepak points out that Lehi (pronounced LEE-high) is part of a larger trend. A national initiative is under way for nurses with associate degrees in nursing to advance to bachelor’s degrees, with the goal of an 80 percent BSN-prepared workforce by 2020.

Longest commute to ceremony? Can you beat 2,000 miles?

We think the graduate who traveled farthest to attend was Lehi Lazo, a pediatrics and neonatal intensive care unit nurse from Oxnard, Calif., who had never before set foot on campus. She took two to three online courses per semester to earn her bachelor’s through BSN-LINC, the national, online nursing program offered by UW-Green Bay. Again, there’s a very nice photo and a little more detail online.

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 or call 1-888-674-8942.

UW-Green Bay admits first Master of Science in Nursing students

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Professional Program in Nursing has announced that 19 registered nurses (RNs) have been accepted to the first cohort in the new online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Management in Health Systems program. Living in 16 cities and six states across the country, with undergraduate degrees from four universities (most are UW-Green Bay alumni), the new admits will begin online MSN courses in Fall of 2013. The average age of those admitted is 42 years old, and the average grade point average is 3.6 (on a 4.0 scale).

The newly admitted RNs aspire to management and leadership roles and practice in diverse areas ranging from the intensive care unit to home care and public health, long-term care, surgery, cardiac care, mental health, emergency services, oncology and correctional nursing. Many already hold managerial or leadership roles such as directors, team leaders, quality measures, vice presidents of business — and even a hospital chief nursing officer.

The UW-Green Bay faculty and staff consulted with nurse managers and leaders across the nation in developing the curriculum for the MSN program. The curriculum covers 34 credits in 12 online courses delivered over two years (six consecutive academic periods). Students will participate in practicum placements during the second year at sites close to their homes.

For more information regarding the UWGB MSN Leadership and Management in Health Systems, visit the program website at, email or contact Jan Malchow, (920) 465-2722 or