By: Harold Brown
Texas A&M University- Commerce believes that being a nurse offers the opportunity to help others and make a difference in their lives. Currently, the northeast Texas region has the highest nurse vacancy rate in the state. The establishment and support of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program by A&M-Commerce is an effort to reduce this shortage and improve healthcare in our region and the state.
The BSN program is very new on this campus, having admitted its first students in January 2013 with an anticipated graduation date of December 2014. This summer a cohort of nursing students from Corpus Christi completed their coursework and clinicals through A&M-Commerce and wrapped up the semester with a presentation of a change project to the beginning A&M Commerce nursing students. The Corpus Christi students spent several weeks in area hospitals and investigated protocols for the control of infection. They were surprised to find that the methods for protective isolation they had been taught in class, things as simple as gloving and gowning before entering a room, were not being carried out in the field consistently. Students discussed potential barriers for not following procedures and made suggestions for improving implementation to ensure the safety of patients in hospital settings.
“I am new to the university and found they had some interesting ideas and observations,” said Dr. Carole McKenzie, Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing. The Corpus Christi cohort of students has been together since Fall of 2011, and the family-oriented support system was very evident as they applauded and critiqued each other on their presentations. Along with the support of their fellow classmates, nursing students are cultivated by an accomplished and skillful faculty that is dedicated to enabling them to integrate scientific knowledge from theory and research, high level skills, and concepts of leadership into the care of individuals, families, and groups.
Devon Frala, a graduating Corpus Christi nursing student, says the most valuable experience has been “…taking care of the patients, making them feel good and making a difference.” As the A&M Commerce nursing program grows, the university looks forward to enhancing the level of nursing education in the state and the nation. When asked what advice she would give to prospective nursing students, Nikki Smith, a beginning student, says, “Go with what you know! Trust your instincts and feel confident about the information learned from the nursing program.”
Quality patient care is dependent on having a well-educated nursing workforce. Research has shown that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels. Education enhances both clinical competency and care delivery, and the nursing department at A&M-Commerce is committed to creating a more highly qualified nursing workforce through its BSN program–potential nurses you would want caring for you and your family.
If you are interested in making an investment in the nursing program and its students, please contact the University Advancement office at 903-886-5712.