The Innovations Fund

Phase: 2020

Project Description:


The Wisconsin Action Coalition, in partnership with the Wisconsin Center for Nursing (WCN), executed the project “Preparing Wisconsin Nurses to Address the Needs of Vulnerable Populations in a Public Health Emergency.” This project created a continuing education program, titled “Wisconsin Nurses Respond Now Priority Training Program,” for nurses to address disparities in health care that impact the state’s vulnerable populations. They successfully completed the pilot training in Milwaukee County, expanded it within the state, and are now piloting it on a national level.

Summary of completed project

The training was developed by first using data based on the statewide nursing survey and by identifying gaps within vulnerable populations’ care. By identifying the relevant information first, they were better able to target the training for best results. Additionally, the tools were updated and improved following each cohort’s recommendations.

By partnering with relevant community organizations and making the material applicable, they were able to enlist participants with a successful completion rate, even during the pandemic.

A total of 62 nurses participated in the training program, and 37 nurses completed the initial launch of the program in Milwaukee County. The project was then expanded to other areas in the state, with another 25 nurses completing the training. Eighty-three percent of participants agreed they were satisfied with the curriculum, and 89 percent agreed that the tools provided would help them translate their new knowledge into practice. The curriculum was also highly successful in meeting the educational goals of the participants.

The Wisconsin Action Coalition developed partnerships with organizations to help integrate the training within health service areas serving the state’s most vulnerable populations. These partners included the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association, and the Bellin School of Nursing.

The Wisconsin Action Coalition was successful in piloting the training, expanding it within the state, and updating it based on feedback from each cohort. The curriculum was also revised to reflect national content and is being piloted in other states under its new name, “U.S. Nurses Respond Now Priority Training Program.”


The use of existing statewide data, the identification of gaps in care for vulnerable populations, and the regular review and revision of the curriculum and tools attributed to the successful piloting and expansion of the training program, which is now available on a national level.