UT-Arlington Plans to Double Nursing-School Students

UT-Arlington Plans to Double Nursing-School Students

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas)

June 24, 2009

The University of Texas at Arlington plans to double enrollment at its nursing school over the next three years, following a trend throughout the region and the country.

Texas Woman’s University in Denton and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth have also expanded their nursing programs to meet the demand from students and the healthcare industry.

Although recruitment of nurses has slowed during the recession, officials say they expect employment to pick up as the country’s population increases and ages.

“All of the data in Texas tells us we need to continue graduating as many students as we can,” said Paulette Burns, dean of the Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences at TCU.

Up to 12,000 qualified applicants are turned away from nursing schools in Texas each year because of the lack of faculty and resources, Elizabeth Poster, dean of the nursing school at UT-Arlington, wrote in an e-mail.

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Officials at the 400-student Arlington school expect enrollment to jump to 800 students by 2012, then continue to expand beyond that. The Legislature approved $5 million this session that will allow the school to cover expenses such as new faculty, work-study stipends and training by outside groups at the Smart Hospital, a center where students practice on high-tech manikins that mimic patients.

Texas Woman’s, meanwhile, has the largest college of nursing in the state. Undergraduate and graduate enrollment set a record of 2,567 in 2008, the most recent figures available, said Amanda Simpson, Texas Woman’s director of news and information.

TCU launched its nursing school in 1946. Over the past five years, it has opened:

An accelerated bachelor’s degree program. Students who have a degree in another field can get a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 15 months. This program and an expansion of the traditional program have allowed TCU to double the number of graduates with bachelor’s degrees to 138.

Doctorate of nursing practice. That degree allows graduates to work in high-level jobs, such as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. The 23-member Class of 2009 was the program’s first.

Clinical nurse leader. The program, to start this fall in conjunction with the Texas Health Resources hospital group, will teach nurses how to coordinate care for patients in various health organizations.

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