University of Houston-Victoria and Wharton County Junior College administrators recently signed an agreement that will ease nursing students' transition between the two schools and encourage them to achieve a bachelor's degree.
The articulation agreement, the second for UHV in the past four months, creates a roadmap that will encourage students achieving an associate degree in nursing to pursue their Bachelor of Science in Nursing at UHV. A nursing student who meets eligibility requirements will automatically be admitted into the UHV Registered Nurse to BSN program, which is offered in Victoria, Sugar Land and Katy.
"This is another huge step toward us fulfilling the professional needs of the area and helping students by streamlining the path to continue their educational goals," said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. "The agreement is a great benefit to the students, and it will help raise the level of professional development throughout the area, as well as strengthen the nursing schools at both institutions."
Agreements with area community colleges have been a goal for UHV since an October report from the Institute of Medicine made recommendations on the future of nursing. The institute set a goal for 80 percent of registered nurses to attain a bachelor's degree by 2020.
Articulation agreements promote seamless academic progressions from community colleges to universities, Tart said.
Deborah Yancey, WCJC director of the Associate Degree in Nursing program, said she recently held a workshop to go over the Institute of Medicine's recommendations, and the articulation agreement encourages continued education.
"It helps our students because it gives them a focus from the first day they come into our community college," she said. "They will have a direct focus on what they need to continue their education."
The agreement lets students know what classes they can take to make a smooth transition to UHV, Yancy said. She said students will have fewer barriers to enter into the university and more access to scholarship money provided through the UHV School of Nursing.
The agreement also strengthens the WCJC program, which she said is an important supplier of nurse professionals to Wharton County and surrounding areas, by increasing opportunities for more education.
"This will let our registered nurses advance their professional skills, which benefits the entire area," she said. "Our students living in rural areas also can advance their degrees without having to leave the areas they call home."
UHV Interim President Don Smith said he and Tart will continue pursuing agreements with other community colleges.
"It is a part of our mission to encourage continued education of professionals in all areas," Smith said. "The UHV School of Nursing is answering the call to the nursing industry, and our graduates are fully prepared to work and meet the challenges health care faces today."