In her conversations with officials from area hospitals, health departments, community colleges and school districts, the University of Houston-Victoria student recruitment and marketing manager for the university’s new nursing program can sense the excitement.
“Everyone I talked with is elated to have nursing back at UHV,” Norma Hinojosa said. “There is a high demand for a baccalaureate nursing program in the Victoria area.”
UHV will begin offering a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in August. A second admission class will start in January. A 50-percent tuition discount is available for two consecutive semesters for students who start in August 2016 or January 2017.
Students can finish the program in three semesters full time or six semesters part time. All the classes are online with the exception of two 45-hour practice learning experiences.
Cindy Hudson, UHV director of nursing, said both prospective students and their employers like the flexibility of an online program, as well having the option to attend full or part time. In UHV’s previous RN to BSN program, students had to take off work on Tuesdays to attend classes. The former UHV School of Nursing transitioned to UH in August.
“I found that I have a lot more interaction with students when I teach online,” Hudson said. “Students have to develop a voice online. They also have time to process information before crafting a response. Taking online classes will improve students’ communication skills, such as writing, which nurses will need in the marketplace.”
To make it even more personalized, UHV nursing faculty members will be accessible for virtual or face-to-face meetings with students. In fact, Hudson’s first faculty hire already is experienced in teaching online.
Karen Carmargo will start in July as an assistant professor of nursing at UHV. She has taught for the last five years at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in Worchester, including teaching online graduate nursing courses the past two years.
Carmargo earned a Doctor of Philosophy in health science from Trident University International in Cypress, Calif. She also has taught at two universities in Maine and community colleges in Massachusetts, Virginia and Florida. From 1991 to 1993, she was coordinator of the Bee County Community College Licensed Vocational Nursing program in Beeville.
Housed in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development, UHV’s new RN to BSN program builds on nurses’ knowledge and skills and prepares them to meet the challenges of a dynamic and complex health care environment. The program is designed to develop students’ skills in using evidence in clinical decision-making to help prepare for leadership roles in collaborative practices.
Hudson said students will use Shadow Health, a digital clinical experience with virtual patients.
“We will use multimedia and interactive learning,” she said. “The discussion questions and learning activities are going to ask our students to build off their previous experiences.”
The program is 10 courses for a total of 30 credit hours. Courses are offered in eight-week blocks. The first four classes students take are “Transition to the BSN Role,” “Foundations of Comprehensive Pathophysiology,” “Introduction to Evidenced-Based Practice” and “Population-Focused Community Health.” Everything else will build from the core courses, Hudson said.
UHV intends to pursue accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Hudson said for UHV to become accredited, students first have to be enrolled for two semesters.
“UHV didn’t lose accreditation, but all the accreditations did move over to UH when the School of Nursing did,” Hudson said. “We have a strong curriculum, a director with the appropriate credentials, a doctoral-prepared faculty member and strong institutional support. Those are all strengths for obtaining accreditation.”
Hudson said the accreditation site visit will likely occur in fall 2017 with a decision expected in spring 2018. The accreditation is backdated to the site visit, which means any student who graduates in December 2017 will have an accredited degree, if UHV receives accreditation.
“All of our graduating students should be able to say they graduated from an accredited program,” Hudson said.
Hinojosa said while the majority of interested students are from the Victoria area, nurses from Houston, Corpus Christi and Dallas have inquired about the program. About half the prospective students just received or are about to obtain their Associate Degree in Nursing and RN license. The other half are working registered nurses considering going back to school. The program has a limit of 40 admissions in August and 40 in January. There are still open slots for August and January.
For more information about UHV’s nursing program, call Hinojosa at 361-570-4210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.