UHV School of Nursing to recognize outstanding graduates

Priscilla Layton

Two students graduating from the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing this semester will receive more than just a clean bill of health.

Professors from each of the four UHV schools select at least one outstanding graduate each semester from their bachelor’s and master’s programs to be honored during commencement.

This semester, the faculty in the UHV School of Nursing selected bachelor’s degree candidate Priscilla Layton and master’s degree candidate Patti Goehring. Both will be honored at UHV’s graduation ceremony at 9 a.m. May 15 at the main campus, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

Patti Goehring

Goehring, a Yorktown resident, will graduate with her Master of Science in Nursing in nurse administration. She works as the director of quality management at the Devereux Texas Treatment Network in Victoria.

“I just feel really honored,” she said. “I didn’t expect it. There are so many great students in my class.”

Along with maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average, she has served on the UHV School of Nursing Advisory Board for the last two years and has been the leader of efforts to organize a nursing honor society at UHV.

“I’m really hoping that I’m going to be able to bring more research into the area of residential nursing care,” she said. “I hope to be able to work as a consultant for accrediting organizations for healthcare facilities.”

Goehring worked for almost 30 years as a Registered Nurse before earning her bachelor’s degree at UHV just two years ago. She was recognized as the outstanding undergraduate for the fall of 2008.

“I have wanted an advanced degree for a long time, and UHV provided me the opportunity that just hadn’t been around before then,” she said.

After working as a Registered Nurse, Layton, a Hallettsville resident, made the decision to go back and get her bachelor’s degree from UHV and pursue her master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner.

During her studies, she worked full time and maintained a 4.0 GPA.

“This has been a great opportunity for me,” she said. “I’m such a cheerleader for UHV because I think the school and faculty are fantastic.”

Layton said one reason for her success was the tremendous support she received. Columbus Community Hospital in Columbus, where she works in the emergency room, worked with her while she was earning her degree. Her husband also took over many family duties and provided tremendous support.

She plans to start a nurse practitioner program in the fall.

Both students studied under Denise Neill, assistant nursing professor and the RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and MSN program coordinator.

“Patti has exemplified leadership qualities throughout her entire career at UHV,” Neill said. “Anytime we ask her to do something, if at all possible, she accommodates the request.”

She had similar praise for Layton.

“Priscilla had more years of experience than her peers here, and she became almost a coach and cheerleader to the other students,” Neill said. “She does an amazing job of balancing work, family and school.”

The students also drew praise from the school’s leader.

“These students represent an elite in the world of nursing,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the School of Nursing. “I know their accomplishments will be a credit to this institution and a major contribution to our profession.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler