UT Tyler Expands Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program to Address Nursing Shortage

UT Tyler Expands Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program to Address Nursing Shortage

The University of Texas (UT) at Tyler recently announced that it will be expanding its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to accept more students in an effort to address the shortage of nurses in Texas and beyond.

From 2011-2018, the School of Nursing admitted 2,116 students while turning away 2,361 qualified applicants due to a lack of space and faculty. The expansion of the BSN program will allow for an additional 180 students to be admitted each academic year and will also accelerate the rate at which the program produces nurses into the workforce.

Dr. Barbara Haas, School of Nursing executive director, tells news-journal.com, “With the expansion, students will graduate an entire semester earlier than was possible under the previous model. Not only will we be able to accept more applicants, but we will also get them out into the workforce faster.”

Beginning in spring 2020, the program will offer a 12-month, year-round BSN program which will be made up of three 15-week semesters. Applicants will be admitted in the fall, spring, and summer semesters, and attend full-time for four consecutive semesters.

To learn more about UT Tyler’s announcement to expand its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to accept more students in an effort to address the shortage of nurses in Texas and beyond, visit here.

Texas A&M College of Nursing Announces Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Texas A&M College of Nursing Announces Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing

Texas A&M University recently announced that the College of Nursing has received approval for its Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, transitioning the forensic nursing program into a state- and federally funded center. The new designation will help expand the capabilities and funding resource opportunities, pushing forward the College of Nursing’s initiative to advance forensic nursing education, outreach, and research.

Forensic nursing is a specialty role focused on the intersection of health care, criminal justice, and the legal system. Registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses can specialize in forensic nursing, allowing them to provide specialized care in the areas of interpersonal violence prevention, intervention, investigation, and post-trauma care. Areas of practice within this specialty include sexual assault, death investigation, corrections, disaster aftermath, risk management, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder mistreatment, and human trafficking.

Nancy Fahrenwald, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, professor and dean of the Texas A&M College of Nursing, tells today.tamu.edu, “The Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing will accelerate multidisciplinary efforts to devise and implement comprehensive strategies that address interpersonal violence across the life span. We are now in the best position to engage scholars throughout The Texas A&M University System to develop and disseminate new knowledge, positively impacting health and social outcomes for those affected by violence.”

Texas A&M’s new Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing allows for an expansion of the college’s Master of Science degree and graduate certificate in forensic nursing programs. The Center will also provide interdisciplinary and professional education course trainings available to health care providers, law enforcement agencies, social workers, and others seeking advanced education in treating victims of violence.

To learn more about the newly designated Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing in the Texas A&M University College of Nursing, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: First-Generation Community Health Worker Maria Elena Valdez Prepares for Nursing Career

Nurse of the Week: First-Generation Community Health Worker Maria Elena Valdez Prepares for Nursing Career

Our Nurse of the Week is Maria Elena Valdez, a first-generation community health worker who is preparing to graduate from nursing school at the end of this year and embark on her career as a nurse.

Valdez was born in Eagle Pass, Texas to seasonal immigrant workers from Coahulla, Mexico. She traveled between Mexico and the US with her parents when she was young while her father worked in Wisconsin fields in the summers and then took his family to Mexico each winter when the work season ended. Her parents had a better plan for her future so they eventually settled in San Antonio, which now feels like home to Valdez.

During her junior of high school, Valdez started volunteering for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Pathway to Health Professions program, which is housed under the Policy Studies Center within the UTSA College of Public Policy. She earned her associate’s degree from Northeast Lakeview College and enrolled at UTSA in fall 2017 where she studied to earn her certification as a community health worker. She can now practice in the field while she works to obtain her bachelor’s degree.

Valdez is currently leveraging her Community Health Worker certification at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where she counsels emergency room patients so that they leave the hospital with better awareness of the resources available to them at home. She will graduate from UTSA in December with her Bachelor’s of Science in Community Health from the College of Education and Human Development.

Miguel Bedolla, the director of the UTSA Health Career Opportunity Program, tells utsa.edu, “Maria Elena is absolutely committed to serving the population of San Antonio, she has already been certified by the State of Texas as a Community Health Worker through the Pathways to Health Professions Program, she is one of the best students in the program and is unwaveringly committed to be an excellent nursing professional.”

To learn more about Maria Elena Valdez, a first-generation community health worker who is preparing to graduate from nursing school at the end of this year and embark on her career as a nurse, visit here

Nurse of the Week: UT Arlington Nursing Professor Kathryn Daniel Declares Mission to Prepare Nurses to Care for Older Adults

Nurse of the Week: UT Arlington Nursing Professor Kathryn Daniel Declares Mission to Prepare Nurses to Care for Older Adults

Our Nurse of the Week is Kathryn Daniel, an associate nursing professor at the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) College of Nursing and Health Innovation (CoNHI) and director of the Adult and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner Programs who has a mission of preparing nurses to care for older adults.

Nurses make up the largest segment of medical workers in the US, and Daniel believes they are the backbone of the nation’s health care system. Daniel herself has been involved in the care of older adults for over 35 years, practicing in geriatric primary care, long-term care, and assisted living facilities. Daniel’s research in gerontology includes studies on emerging technologies to enhance safety, cardiac rehabilitation, palliative care, and an analysis of the present and future needs for nurses.

Daniel has also led UTA’s Smart Care program since 2015. Smart Care is a collaborative project between the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the College of Engineering that develops technology to improve the independence, quality of life, and health of the elderly and those with disabilities. Daniel’s most current work is focused on facilitating healthy aging. Her professional mission is preparing nurses to care for a rapidly aging population.

Daniel tells eurekalert.org, “I believe nurse practitioners are vital health care providers who can play an important role in the future health of our populations. Through my work and research, I am thrilled to be part of the group building the science of nursing through future nurse practitioners and nurse scientists.”

To learn more about Kathryn Daniel, an associate nursing professor in the UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation and director of the Adult and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner Programs who has a mission of preparing nurses to care for older adults, visit here.

VA North Texas Nurse Uses 44 Years of Service to Mentor Next Generation

VA North Texas Nurse Uses 44 Years of Service to Mentor Next Generation

In 1975, with the Vietnam War still fresh in the minds of the American public, most high school senior graduation plans did not include joining the U.S. Army. But for eighteen-year-old Virginia “Ginny” Warren, the North Texas daughter of a cotton farmer, the Army looked like an ideal path. Much to the chagrin of her father, Ginny Warren had just set forth on a 44-year journey from soldier to VA Nurse.

“The Army offered me a way to broaden my horizons and to learn,” said Warren, Nurse Manager at VA North Texas Health Care System.

Warren began her military career with two-years in medical administrative field before spending the next twenty-two years as a medic with the U.S. Army Reserve’s 94thCombat Support Hospital, based in Seagoville, Texas. With a primary mission to take a 150-person deployable hospital anywhere in the world and be ready to receive casualties within 72 hours of arrival, Warren continuously trained for the opportunity to apply her talents while developing a new passion to become a Registered Nurse (RN).

Through her career in the Reserves, the Army sent Warren to licensed vocational nurse (LVN) training and Warren quickly realized she had an aptitude and attitude for nursing. Warren went on to attend the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing to become a RN and was subsequently commissioned in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.

“I had to find my place as a new nurse and new military officer,” said Warren. “I had a lot to learn, but I felt I had a lot to offer as well.”

After becoming an RN, Warren brought her health care experience to VA and joined another family of nursing professionals at VA North Texas in 1997.

In 2003, Warren’s Reserve unit was called upon to deploy to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to treat wounded servicemembers straight from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The ability to muster tremendous internal strength and compassion, coupled with her many years of training to deploy on a moment’s notice, was exactly what the soldiers, Marines and airman she treated would need to make their next journey back stateside to recover with family and friends.

“I vividly remember leaning over this big sergeant, hugging him, and whispering in his ear that it would be okay, and the pain won’t last,” said Warren.

Warren would go on to give more than 40 years in uniform, retiring as a field grade officer in 2015.

With over 22 years of service as a VA nurse, Warren now walks the inpatient wards of the Dallas VA Medical Center where she once served as junior nurse, as a manager and mentor to a new generation of nursing professionals who rely on her expertise and experience to care for many of the 134,000 active patients who use VA North Texas for their health care each year.

“Nursing is not just a career, it’s a passion and a devotion,” said Sheila Wise, VA North Texas Nurse Manager, and herself a retired U.S. Army Nurse. “To bring that passion and devotion to the service of our Veterans the way the Ginny has, and continues to do every day, for as long as she has, makes her an inspiration and a guiding figure for our nursing team. She makes all of us better.”

While eighteen-year-old Ginny Warren could have never foreseen the impact she would have on our nation through her service to military servicemembers and Veterans over 44 years, the nearly 3,000 nurses who apply their skills at VA North Texas are glad that the cotton farmer’s daughter left home to make the journey of a lifetime.

“Nursing has always been where I could pour my heart and soul,” said Warren. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.

Nurse of the Week: University of Texas at Austin Senior Nursing Student Kelsey Mumford Wants to Help Texas Become a Healthier State

Nurse of the Week: University of Texas at Austin Senior Nursing Student Kelsey Mumford Wants to Help Texas Become a Healthier State

Our Nurse of the Week is Kelsey Mumford, a senior nursing student at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin who wants to help Texas become a healthier state. Growing up in the Austin area, Mumford experienced the impact that a top-tier research university can have on a community. After seeing the work UT was doing, it became the only school she applied to, and now she’s helping advocate for better health policies as a nursing student. 

Mumford started at UT Austin as a freshman with a double major in nursing honors and biology. Outside the classroom, she was involved as a Forty Acres Scholar, the School of Nursing representative in Student Government, a Texas Coed cheerleader, and the Health Policy Committee chair of the UT Nursing Students Association. 

During her sophomore year, the dean of the nursing school sent Mumford to a student policy summit in Washington, DC, which was designed to immerse student nurses in the federal policy process. At the summit, she had the opportunity to apply for a small grant to take what she learned back to UT. Mumford won and designed a three-month campaign to get other students excited about advocating for better health in the Austin community. 

As part of the campaign, Mumford organized 70 students who advocated to pass a bill in the Texas Legislature. It was a small policy change in the driver’s license application—instead of checking a box to opt in to being an organ donor in Texas, you would instead have the option to opt out.

Mumford tells News.UTexas.edu, “It was a very small thing, but it could have a large impact on the bigger system. It’s an example of how a health policy on a specific issue can have a chain reaction. Health policy is not just big national bills. These state and local bills are really important.”

Mumford chose nursing school because she has always wanted to help people, and now she sees a future for how to do that on a larger scale. During her junior year, she was awarded the Nurse in Washington Internship and was subsequently able to meet the Texas legislative staffers to discuss issues such as the opioid crisis. The goal of one bill discussed was to provide advanced practice registered nurses with greater ability to prescribe naloxone and other opioid addiction treatments. 

Mumford says, “I’m really interested in preventative policies. How can we prevent people from getting sick in the first place? I want to know in the future that I’ve helped Texas become a healthier state.”

Now in her senior year, Mumford serves on the Board of Directors of the National Student Nurses Association, is the founder of the Health Advocacy Student Coalition, and is the program coordinator for the Dell Medical School Health Leadership Apprentice Program. After graduating in May, Mumford plans to attend graduate school and continue health advocacy in her career. 

To learn more about Kelsey Mumford, a senior nursing student at UT Austin who wants to help Texas become a healthier state, visit here

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