The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing welcomed its first class of 10 nursing students in Dallas-Fort Worth Monday, school officials announced.
In May 2013, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved the establishment of a second degree baccalaureate nursing degree program for students in North Texas.
“We are pleased to introduce this accelerated second degree BSN program to the DFW region,” said nursing school dean Michael L. Evans. “We also are pleased to be joining the other excellent nursing programs in the area to meet the current and future need to educate more students to become nurses. This program is aimed at attracting mid-career, degreed individuals who want to be a BSN registered nurse.”
The program is designed for students with a previous college degree. The accelerated 12-month program includes coach and nurse educator oversight in the student’s own communities in Abilene, Lubbock, Austin, El Paso, the Permian Basin, and now Dallas/Fort Worth. Students in the Dallas program will gain on-site clinical experience at 25 Texas Health Resources hospitals.
“Together with our Center for Advancing Professional Practice we have been instrumental in creating a new learning culture for the profession of nursing through this innovative education affiliation with Texas Tech,” said Cole Edmonson, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. “These students will have an opportunity for an immersion experience in a dedicated education unit designed to produce quality outcomes. Our goal is to make students an integral part of the care team and a sustainable part of the workforce to meet the triple aim, better care, improved outcomes at a lower cost.”
The School of Nursing plans to have 35 students in North Texas within two years.
The Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have set a goal for 80 percent of the nation’s nurses to earn their bachelor’s degrees in nursing by 2020. Currently the national average of bachelor’s-prepared nurses is 50 percent. Texas stands below that average at 37 percent.
Nurses with bachelor’s and master’s degrees are more likely to receive a job offer upon graduation than any other field, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. About two-thirds had offers at the time of graduation and about 90 percent were employed four to six months after graduation.
The healthcare workforce added 125,000 RNs in 2011 and 2012. The Midwest and South—including Texas—are experiencing the fastest per capita growth of RNs.
Baylor Scott & White has been swamped. In the past 12 months, it has received nearly 25,000 applications for about 4,000 openings, according to Rosemary Luquire, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. Chris Loy, director of human resources for Methodist Richardson Medical Center, said the facility has received more than 14 applications for every posted nursing opening.
Other areas of the U.S. are less fortunate. The national nursing vacancy rate has increased from 5.5 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2013, according to an AMN Healthcare survey.