SOURCE: UT Arlington

UT Arlington

March 15, 2010 07:00 ET

Growth in UT Arlington's College of Nursing Helps Address Nursing Shortage

UT Arlington Academic Partnerships' Programs Offer Nursing Students Clinical Experience in Hospitals While They Take Online Classes

ARLINGTON, TX--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) - The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing more than doubled its student enrollment from the Spring of 2009 to the Spring of 2010, with enrollment growing from 2,040 to 4,136 in that one year period. The biggest area of increased enrollment, according to Elizabeth Poster, Dean of the College, was its Academic Partnerships RN to BSN program, which is offered online. UT Arlington's College of Nursing has become the fastest growing and largest nursing school in Texas, and is among the 15 largest schools of nursing in the country. The growth was the impetus for the College's recent name change from "School of Nursing" to "College of Nursing," Dean Poster said.

She made her comments to Chief Nursing Officers (CNOs) at a gathering organized by University of Texas at Arlington Academic Partnerships. The CNOs were in Dallas for the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives (TONE) 2010 Annual Leadership Conference, which UT Arlington Academic Partnerships helped sponsor. Several of the meeting participants are CNOs of partner hospitals where students are enrolled in the College's AP RN-BSN program, as well as the newly launched Academic Partnerships-BSN (AP-BSN).

The growth in the College's enrollment comes at an especially important time, Dean Poster said, because of the state and the nation's ongoing nursing shortage of registered nurses. According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, the demand for full-time RNs in this state exceeds supply by 22,000. Dean Poster emphasized the critical role that nursing education plays in meeting workforce needs. Based on the success of the AP RN-BSN program, and the 8-12,000 qualified applicants who are not admitted into any of the 96 nursing programs in Texas, the new Academic Partnership initial licensure BSN program was initiated in Spring 2010, she said. This new model offers online courses with all or most of the clinical practice experiences in partner hospitals, but taught by the College's nursing faculty rather than staff preceptors. Because the UT Arlington College of Nursing has made a commitment to not displace any other nursing program's students, said Dean Poster, all clinical hours are scheduled during less utilized times such as evenings and weekends. "This unique model is only possible with the strong commitment and collaboration of our healthcare partners," she said.

 "Because this unique model uses a blended learning approach (online and hospital clinical experience), students' exposure to nursing role models lies within the clinical settings rather than through online courses," said Remy Tolentino, Vice President of Nursing Workforce and Leadership Development for Baylor Health Care System. "Partner hospitals, therefore, take on the significant responsibility of collaborating with faculty to provide an infrastructure that fosters the student's acquisition of professional identity and values during clinical rotations." Tolentino offered her comments in a roundtable discussion generated by Dean Poster's presentation.

Rob Ganji, Executive Vice President for the Healthcare Division of Academic Partnerships, added, "It takes this type of innovation in nursing education and harmonization with healthcare employers to address the nursing shortage, as well as to enhance the capabilities of the existing workforce."

Hospitals in the major metropolitan areas of Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, along with hospitals in smaller cities and rural areas across Texas, have become Academic Partners with the College of Nursing to serve as clinical sites, and to provide additional educational opportunities to their existing nursing staffs.

Students may call 866-489-2810 or visit http://www.stateu.com/uta/nursing.asp for more information. 

ABOUT UT ARLINGTON 
The University of Texas at Arlington is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. The University, which is classified as a Carnegie Research University/High Activity, has a student enrollment of nearly 29,000 and is on a pathway to becoming a nationally recognized Tier One institution. Learn more about UT Arlington at www.uta.edu

The UT Arlington College of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and has one of the highest graduation and licensure rates in Texas, with 95 percent of graduates passing the National Council Licensure Examination. The College has a 95 percent graduation rate of which 97 percent have been offered employment by or immediately after graduation. The College of Nursing has a 35-year history of providing BSN, RN-BSN, MSN with Nurse Practitioner, Educator and Administration options as well as the PhD and the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) for students with NP preparation. 98-100% of NP graduates pass the national certification exams annually.

Contact Information

  • For media inquiries:
    Kristin Sullivan, UT Arlington: 817-272-5364, kristinsul@uta.edu or
    Anna Martinez, Academic Partnerships: 214-438-4155