Program battles low numbers


    The pulse of the nursing population is fading, and the Harris College of Health and Human Sciences is trying to revive it.The College of Health and Human Sciences is taking a proactive stance to combat the predicted nursing shortages by 2020.

    The college has been successful with a retention rate of 85 to 100 percent, said Donna Tilley, associate professor and director of the Harris College of Nursing. But the College of Health and Human Sciences is continuing to raise the bar, and other colleges should take notice.

    Kudos to the college for implementing the ACE program, Academic Excellence, to help nursing students excel with tutoring, test prep and study strategies.

    The college’s greatest feat is its accelerated baccalaureate nursing program. It gives people with degrees in another field the opportunity to enter the program and earn a nursing degree in 15 months.

    Not only will the program give graduates the chance to delve into another field, but also it will help guard against a dwindling career field.

    As the baby boomers enter their senior citizen years, the need for geriatric nurses will climb as older nurses retire, Tilley said. By creating an accelerated program, the college is making a career in nursing a feasible option for any student while giving them the necessary training and experience to be successful.

    The downside is that the college must turn away about 40 transfer students each semester because each class can only hold 60 students.

    Tilley said the college is growing, squeezing out some faculty and putting them in offices in the Tucker Technology Center.

    Nevertheless, the College of Health and Human Sciences has the right idea: Bridging the gap between non-nursing majors and the field of medicine is the key to ensuring the nursing population does not go code blue.

    News editor Lindsey Bever for the editorial board.