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UHV, TSTC create transfer pathway for nursing students

Nursing students at Texas State Technical College will have a new academic pathway into the University of Houston-Victoria’s nursing program, thanks to an expansion to the transfer credit agreement between the two institutions.

UHV and TSTC recently updated their transfer agreement to include a transfer pathway for students in the TSTC Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing into UHV’s Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, giving TSTC nursing students an easier way to continue their education to receive a bachelor’s degree. The UHV nursing program is offered completely online, giving students anywhere the opportunity to continue their higher education studies.

“This new transfer of credit plan is perfect for our nursing students across the state and is a value for students to upscale their expertise with a higher education degree,” said Hector Yanez, TSTC senior vice president of higher learning. “At TSTC, we provide a great avenue for students, including our nurses who receive an associate degree. With the massive demand for nurses, more education in the field is extremely important. This is an optimal pathway in nursing for our students to attain a higher level of nursing practice.”

The previous agreement allows students who received an Associate of Applied Science at TSTC to transfer to UHV to continue their studies toward a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences at the Victoria campus, UHV Katy or online. The updated agreement to include the nursing program pathway was signed in November.

Karla DeCuir

With this new part of the agreement, students in the TSTC associate nursing program will have an academic map of which courses they will need to take at the college to prepare them for the bachelor’s program at UHV. This plan allows students to make sure they are on the right pathway from their first day at TSTC to completing their bachelor’s degree at UHV in the shortest amount of time as possible, said Karla DeCuir, UHV senior director of enrollment and external affairs.

“UHV is focused on providing easier pathways for students to transfer their credits from a community college or state college into a four-year bachelor’s program, and the best way to do that is to provide course maps to let students know exactly how to achieve that,” DeCuir said. “We see there is a growing need for nurses with a bachelor’s degree in both Texas and across the country, and we want to provide students with a way to earn their bachelor’s degree through a program that is completely online and works around their schedule.”

TSTC has offered a nursing program since 2007, said Lisa Van Cleave, TSTC director of nursing. The college offers a hybrid program to earn a certification in Vocational Nursing as well as the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing. The TSTC program prepares students to become a registered nurse.

The field of nursing is complex, especially with COVID-19 causing burnout with nurses, she said. Because of the rigor of the nursing program and course requirements, TSTC students are well prepared to go into the UHV nursing program right away. Having a bachelor’s degree also offers students the opportunity to move up in management.

“Moving forward, and with the complexity of health care, we need more nurses and hospitals need well prepared and well-educated nurses,” Van Cleave said. “A nurse with a BSN will help them wherever they go and benefits every single patient they treat, and ultimately the community they live in.”

Victoria Thomas

The UHV Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program admits associate degree and diploma nurses and admits students several times each academic year. The program offers up to 10 courses a semester, including “Introduction into Evidence-Based Practices” and a capstone project. Students can enroll full time or part time, and the program is tailored to students’ needs. Most students in the program are working nurses, and the program allows nurses to work and complete the course requirements. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Before the pandemic, many health care facilities such as hospitals were requiring that nurses have a BSN, said Victoria Thomas, UHV interim director of nursing. A pathway for TSTC students to join the UHV nursing program is a win-win situation that will inspire students starting in the TSTC program to go on and complete a bachelor’s degree.

“This is an exciting and excellent deal,” Thomas said. “It is not only beneficial for nursing students but for the nursing workforce as it will help increase the pool of highly qualified nurses serving in our communities. I am excited to welcome TSTC students into our BSN program.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region, offers courses leading to more than 65 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and concentrations in the schools of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Education & Human Development, and Nursing. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus as well as teaching sites in Fort Bend and Harris counties, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. Since its founding in 1973, UHV has provided students with a quality university education from excellent faculty at an affordable price.