University has renamed its Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing to recognize its
ongoing development of academic programs in health sciences, beginning with the
first post-licensure Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy Completion
program in the state of Wisconsin.
The college will now
be known as the Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences.
The name change was prompted in part by the new Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy
Completion Program, which is the first of several new health sciences programs
in development at Stritch.
“This name change
signifies that the University is answering the call of the community,” said
Stritch President Dr. James Loftus. “After more than three decades of offering
exemplary nursing programs at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s level,
Stritch is responding to the needs of the Milwaukee community with innovative
programs in health sciences, starting with the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory
Therapy Completion program.”
The Ruth S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences has
provided high-quality nursing education since 1980. At that time, Stritch took
over a program run by the Sacred Heart School of Practical Nursing that
prepared licensed practical nurses and began offering an Associate in Science
degree in nursing to meet new state requirements.
A bachelor in nursing program was established in 1983, and a
master’s degree in nursing was added in 1998, which focused on nurse educators.
Stritch was the first institution of higher education in Wisconsin to offer
such a degree. In April 2003, the college was named in honor of benefactor Ruth
S. Coleman, for her continuing support of nursing education. Coleman had
thought of becoming a nurse as a young woman, but that when such a career path
was not possible for her, she set about caring for people by establishing
scholarships to support nursing students. She also supported medical research.
Therapy Completion Program allows existing respiratory therapists an
opportunity to advance their careers by completing a bachelor’s degree. The program is offered online and is
designed to take two years to complete.
degree programs in respiratory therapy can be found across the state, Stritch
will be the first institution of higher education in Wisconsin to offer a
bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy, which will fill a critical need
within healthcare across the state.
A recent study
conducted by the American Association for Respiratory Care reiterated that the
current healthcare environment requires more skills than ever before. The
volume of knowledge and skills that a respiratory therapy student must learn
increases yearly, yet the amount of hours in the classroom, lab and clinical
settings are limited at the associate degree level.
“Due to the increasing
complexity of healthcare and federal regulation changes, the healthcare
community is asking for respiratory therapists to be prepared at the
baccalaureate level,” said Dr. Kelly Dries, dean of the college. “Stritch is offering
practicing respiratory therapists the first opportunity for advancement beyond
an associate degree within Wisconsin, which is an excellent start to the Ruth
S. Coleman College of Nursing and Health Sciences.”
The online format of the program will allow students the
flexibility to further their education while maintaining their work schedule.
For students who seek a face-to-face delivery format, the program will offer
some optional in-person classroom time within each course. Based upon need,
separate online and face-to-face versions of the program may be implemented in
To ease the admissions process, Stritch
has created an articulation agreement with the seven Wisconsin technical colleges
that offer an associate degree in respiratory therapy.