The Texas legislative session ended this May with an approval for a $1.1 million special item request on behalf of the University of Houston-Victoria. This funding—over the next two years—will help launch the new UHV Master of Science in Nursing Program.
The special item request was submitted in Aug. 2006 by UHV President Tim Hudson as part of the Legislative Appropriations Request for the fiscal years of 2008 and 2009.
"This funding brings UHV one step closer to being a part of the solution to the worrisome nursing shortage in our area," said Hudson. "I can't express enough how grateful we all are to Governor Perry, Representative Morrison, Senator Hegar, and other legislators who recognized the need for our master’s program and who supported UHV in the face of so many competing requests."
According to Dr. Jeanette Hartshorn, UHV director of nursing, the funding will help cover faculty and staff salaries, other operating expenses and enable the launch of the master’s degree only a year after the beginning of the BSN.
"We simply would not be able to start the MSN Program without this legislative sponsorship." she said. “They have listened to our needs and have appropriated money that will make a positive difference in the lives of so many people in our communities."
“A portion of the money will be used to create a state-of-the-art simulation lab in which basic nursing skills will be taught,” Hartshorn added. "The instructional program will be top notch and will familiarize our students with the latest technologies."
Hartshorne also pointed out that MSN Program graduates will qualify as instructors for community college nursing programs. A shortage of community college nursing faculty is a key factor in the nursing shortage.
"Our board, especially our Chair Leroy Hermes and Victoria's own Regent Morgan Dunn O'Connor were extremely helpful in delivering the message that this program is a priority for the entire UH System as we work to meet the needs of our ever-expanding population." said Hudson. "This support was critical."
The School of Nursing, beginning in the summer of 2008, will allow students the opportunity to take advantage of a Generic MSN Program. According to Hartshorn, this program will provide students who have earned a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with an opportunity to attain a master’s degree in nursing.
Students who graduate from the Master of Science in Nursing Program can specialize as a clinical nurse specialist, nurse manager or they will have the opportunity to take additional coursework to become nurse educators.
Currently, 17 students are scheduled to graduate this year from UHV's new BSN in nursing.
"We're on the health education map now and intend to provide expanding opportunities for our students," said Hartshorn.