Home Wisconsin Wisconsin Corrections Dept Nursing Director inducted into prestigious American Academy of Nursing

Wisconsin Corrections Dept Nursing Director inducted into prestigious American Academy of Nursing


The Wisconsin Department of Corrections nursing director was recently selected to be part of the prestigious American Academy of Nursing class of 2020 Fellows. 

Mary Muse, who has been working in correctional healthcare for the past 25 years, is among 230 nursing leaders that will be inducted into the Academy in October. It was a humbling experience when she found out she was selected, she said.

“It is humbling but it is an honor. It is something that, as a nursing professional, one would dream about,” she said. “There are only about 2,700 members of the Academy, and so it’s something you’d like to aspire to. But it’s not necessarily something that you know you’ll achieve.”

The Academy is a professional organization that produces and distributes nursing knowledge in an effort to progress health policy, according to its website. Currently, there are more than 2,700 members, including Muse, known as Fellows who “create and execute knowledge-driving and policy-related initiates to drive reform of America’s health system.”

Muse plans to use her background in correctional health to inform her work as a Fellow. 

“I really believe that when I came into corrections, back in 1995 and I talked to nurses, looked at patient care delivery and asked questions, individuals frequently said to me ‘you got to understand this is corrections, not a hospital,’” she said. “Nurses also said to me that they weren’t valued. I made a commitment to improving patient care, and to improve the image and value of correctional nursing. We work with people who come in with health needs. It’s a shame they’re here, [but] how do we have an impact on their health while they’re here?”

She also said making an impact on an incarcerated person has an effect once they re-entered their communities as well.

“It’s not only what we do with people who are [here], but when they go back into the community, we still impact the community and public health,” she said. “So I’ll continue to do that work. I’ll continue to drive change. I will look probably more of a focus [on] how do I impact from a policy perspective?”

For Muse, the Academy will be a chance to be exposed to nursing professionals who have experience with health policy research.

“There’s an opportunity to reach out to individuals who have experience with policy, have been to Congress, who have connections to individuals, so the Academy gives me a rich resource,” she said.

Since Muse’s selection, she has received support from her peers at the Wisconsin DOC as well. 

“Mary stresses nursing accountability and competency. And she challenges nursing and other health care professions to be the best they can be for the betterment of the health care delivery team and, ultimately, the patient,” Steven Linn, a health services nursing coordinator at the Wisconsin DOC, said in a statement.

“I am appreciative that the current leadership of the Department of Corrections recognizes the significance of the topic for me,” she said. “they recognize and support driving change for our population.”

Muse hopes to add a new perspective on correctional health, as she is the first Fellow since at least 2013 to come from that background.

“In the Academy, some individuals have worked with corrections, (but) there are not many who actually really spent time in corrections,” she said. “So I hope to shed light on the positive things and the opportunities for me to be doing more in correctional health, and also to have that conversation come back to the community. I hope that I represent correctional healthcare and recognize the needs of individuals who are most vulnerable, who are part corrections.”