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UHV nursing professor receives grant to study retention rates

By ADVOCATE STAFF REPORT
May 7, 2011 at 12:07 a.m.

Linda Dune

FOR MORE INFOAbout the UHV School of Nursing, visit uhv.edu/nursing or email nursing@uhv.edu.

A University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing assistant professor will use a nearly $90,000 grant to study nursing school student retention.

Linda Dune, coordinator of the UHV Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, will coordinate the At-Risk Student Tracking and Intervention Project at UHV during the next two years with $89,946 in funding from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

"Statewide, there are progressively increasing costs associated with graduating nursing students, and some of those are associated with high attrition rates," Dune said. "This project will enable our program to admit wisely and identify at-risk students earlier in the program so we can help them graduate and pass their licensure exams."

The UHV School of Nursing was awarded funds from the Nursing Innovation Grant Program to combat a Registered Nurse licensure rate of 69 percent. UHV will partner with Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in the new study to seek ways to encourage students to finish licensure and bachelor's degrees on time by examining psychosocial, academic and financial issues.

"I am excited about the grant because we have been working on many projects to help second-degree students," Dune said. "These students could be dealing with family issues, a lack of money to pay for school, or the need for stronger reading skills, and this study will help us address those issues."

Dune said her students also are excited about the grant, and she has kept them apprised of its progress since the early days of the application process.

Dune will work closely with Linda Walker, Stephen F. Austin project director. Dune said the study findings will make suggestions in several areas, from tracking retention rates, to identifying students at risk of dropping out and providing interventions for those students.

"On the recruiting side, strategies could include soliciting those with strong self-efficacy skills and those who are strong physically and emotionally who can deal with the long hours demanded in nursing," she said.

"It is important to nursing schools that students graduate and do well on the National Council Licensure Examination," she said. "We don't want to lose any future nurses."

Dune said she will work with the UHV Counseling Center and Jesse Aros, its director and lead psychologist. Aros will assist with pre-study screening, and some students could receive additional time with remediation specialists.

Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing, said the study will help nurses stay in school and raise the education level of nurses.

"The 2010 Institute of Medicine report on the future of nursing recommended that 80 percent of professional nurses have a bachelor's degree," Tart said. "Identifying our at-risk students and giving them the proper remediation will help us do our part to meet that goal."

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