Partnership addresses demand for nurses

October 24, 2011
TAMHSC and Blinn sign agreement to partner for quality nurses

Standing L-R: Roderick E. McCallum, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, Texas A&M Health Science Center; Robert Brick, Ph.D., vice president of Applied Sciences and Workforce Education, Blinn College. Sitting, L-R: Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, dean, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing; Mary Lohse, M.S.N., RN, director of Associate Degree Nursing Program, Blinn College; Thena Parrott, Ph.D., RN, chair of Allied Health Division, Blinn College

The Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing and the Blinn College Associate Degree Nursing Program (BC-ADN) have announced a partnership to address the regional demand for quality nursing professionals.

The October 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Future of Nursing report calls for 80 percent of nurses nationwide to attain a bachelor’s degree by 2020 and to double the number of nurses pursuing doctorates. The charge is due to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s growing body of research supporting the relationship between the level of nursing education and both the quality and safety of patient care.

The TAMHSC-College of Nursing and BC-ADN will join forces to address this critical workforce need in Central Texas while also delivering educational goals found in “Closing the Gaps” – the statewide plan adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“Blinn has a wonderful reputation of producing qualified nurses at the A.D.N. level, and we are excited about this opportunity to partner with them to continue increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses,” said Sharon Wilkerson, Ph.D., RN, TAMHSC-College of Nursing dean.

This formalized agreement allows for a smooth transfer for students between the two institutions without the need to repeat successfully completed courses.

“The IOM report is remarkable in that it causes us to reflect on the practice paradigm and how we should prepare students for the future,” said Roderick E. McCallum, Ph.D., TAMHSC vice president for academic affairs. “This affiliation is much more than a partnership. I think it’s a pathway to provide better prepared nursing professionals.”

The BC-ADN currently is undergoing a curriculum revision to clarify mutually accepted courses, thus allowing a smoother transition to the TAMHSC baccalaureate program.

“The current external pushes to increase the level of education for all nurses are causing us to rethink what we do and make it as seamless as possible,” said Thena Parrott, Ph.D., RN, Blinn College Allied Health Division chair. “We hope this seamless transition will help the students decide to continue on for a baccalaureate.”

— Blair Williamson