Healthcare for Riverwest: Pierce Community Nursing Center

by Jan Christensen

Wouldn’t it be great if we had a health care center in Riverwest that provided immunizations to school-aged children at no cost to parents? A place that offered primary urgent care and other simple health services to adults at a sliding scale? And bilingual services for Spanish-speaking families? Guess what: We already have this great place! It’s the Riverwest Pierce Community Nursing Center (RPCNC), located at Pierce School, 2765 N. Fratney Street. The RPCNC is co-sponsored by Milwaukee Public Schools and the UWM School of Nursing, with support from Columbia-St. Mary’s Hospital and several community-based organizations. It is a collaboration based on the “Lighted Schoolhouse” model in which neighborhood schools become community-wide resources. The RPCNC was started in 1995 with two major goals. First, the center’s founders wanted to increase immunization rates in the Riverwest area. Their second goal was to provide primary health care for uninsured and underinsured Riverwest residents. In the years since the Center’s beginnings, the service providers have changed, but it continues to maintain an on-site presence at Piece School. Currently, UWM College of Nursing staff and student nurses provide school-based health services and primary care for adult men and women as well as students. Basic services provided include physical exams, reproductive health exams for men and women, child and adult immunizations, and primary urgent care services such as strep screening and referral services. The RPCNC hours for full health services are Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. through 4 p.m. A sliding fee scale is used in charging for adult health services. Health services to school age children, including immunizations, are provided at no cost to parents. Bilingual services are provided. Hours can vary, so please call for an appointment at 414/267-7721.