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Texas receives national grant to promote higher education among nurses

Sept. 8, 2012 at 4:08 a.m.


Area nursing students can benefit from a new $300,000 two-year grant program, a program official said.

The grant, awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its new Academic Progression in Nursing program is expected to give a major boost in helping create a more highly educated and diverse nursing workforce, said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing and co-project director of the grant.

Texas is one of nine states to receive grant funding.

The funding is intended to support statewide efforts of the Texas Team Action Coalition, convened to advance the Future of Nursing: "Campaign for Action."

The point of the grant is to bring together education and practice to keep students on track to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

"We are looking to develop a statewide curriculum so that nurses can enter into the education arena, start working in the nursing field and continue their education until they earn a bachelor's degree," Tart said. "Instead of putting barriers in front of students, we are looking for ways to break down barriers."

Tart said the primary strategy to achieving this goal is implementing a statewide curriculum model.

"In this model, associate and baccalaureate degree nursing programs across Texas would adopt standardized general education courses along with concept-based curriculum of leadership, diversity, collaboration, quality and safety," she said.

The Institute of Medicine recommended in its milestone report "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health" increasing to 80 percent the proportion of nurses with a BSN or higher by 2020. Currently only half of U.S. nurses have baccalaureate degrees.

"We want our nurses to be as highly competent as possible," Tart said. "We are passionate about making sure our patients - whether they are at a hospital, clinic, nursing home or community setting - have the best care they can get from every nurse."

UHV already has agreements in place with Victoria College, Lone Star College System and Wharton County Junior College that allow any of their students achieving an Associate Degree in Nursing to automatically be admitted to UHV's Registered Nurse to BSN program. A nursing student who satisfies the Victoria College, Lone Star or WCJC general education core also will satisfy all UHV core requirements.

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