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UW Nurse Midwifery Program Survives But Change Still Looms

Sara Lerner

The nurse midwifery program at the University of Washington will not be eliminated. That's the announcement from the nursing school's interim dean Tuesday. But as KUOW's Sara Lerner reports, changes could still be coming at the nursing school.


Jenny Rose Wilson says she was stressed this year, pretty much ever since December, when a faculty vote recommended getting rid of her program, nurse midwifery, along with two others.

But now?

Wilson: "Yeah, I am just thrilled."

Nurse midwives deliver babies, usually in hospitals. They're an option moms can choose when the birth is designated low risk.

The nursing school has been going through a restructuring process. Wilson says before the faculty voted to eliminate the program, there was no input from students or from the community overall.

Wilson: "For me, it's just, it's felt like such an assault on my profession and it's been hard not to take it personally, but I've been really impressed to see the way all my fellow students have just pulled together to fight this, and my professors as well."

The interim dean of the nursing school, Pam Mitchell, was only appointed in March. She says budget cuts have forced a restructuring process at the nursing school and that's still going on. She says, yes, the three programs are staying —

Mitchell: "Yeah, and I'm making a little hedging there. The programs, the faculty is gonna fold that into this whole curricular, really serious reorganization look. And so those programs are going to continue on, but —"

And this is where students need to beware —

Mitchell: " — but by the time that the groups that are working on this whole curricular revision are through with that work, it may look quite different than it does now."

Lerner: "What do you mean, 'might look different?' I just don't know what that means."

Mitchell: " — and I guess what I would say to you is because this is how the curriculum is put together, that part is that faculty decision and they're gonna be working on that."

OK, in sum, the three programs will stay. But some of the eleven doctor of nursing practice programs might be folded into others. Overall, the dean says major changes might still be coming.

And so, the long, long process of reorganization continues at the University of Washington nursing school.

I'm Sara Lerner, KUOW News.

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