ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington's School of Nursing announces the establishment of the UT Arlington Regional Nursing Education Center, a program that will double the number of undergraduate nursing students by 2012. The program is aimed at students earning their bachelor's of science degree in nursing who will become registered nurses.
The center is being made possible by $5 million in one-time funds approved when Gov. Rick Perry signed the state appropriations bill today. The funds will allow UT Arlington's BSN enrollment to increase from 400 to 800 students over the next three years. The center will be a resource to 14 schools of nursing in the region as they increase their enrollments and expand their use of UT Arlington's nursing simulation facility.
"Through the leadership of all our area lawmakers, UT Arlington will be able to play a major role in training the numbers of highly skilled, registered nurses that Texas needs to meet the health care demands in our communities," President James D. Spaniolo said. "We are thrilled that more students, and more Texans, will benefit from the real-world experience they can gain in our University's high-tech teaching laboratory, the UT Arlington School of Nursing's Smart Hospital."
The funds will allow BSN students to complete up to 50 percent of their clinical hours at the Smart Hospital, a simulation-based teaching facility where students learn by working with an array of state-of-the-science simulation technology, patient manikins and actors. Increased use of the Smart Hospital will reduce pressure on area hospitals to provide on-site clinical education to students.
The funds also will increase the number of new faculty graduating from the Master of Science Nurse Educator program who have simulation experience. With more nurse educators with simulation skills, schools of nursing can potentially accommodate increased numbers of Texas' next generation of nurses.
State Sen. Chris Harris, R-Arlington, said the funding for the UT Arlington nursing program expansion was one of his top priorities for this year's legislative session.
"The Regional Nursing Center is vitally important to our region and the state, and we must do as much as we can to increase the numbers of graduates going into the critical field of nursing," Harris said. "We worked closely with the Lieutenant Governor and the members of the Senate Finance Committee to ensure these priority items were addressed. I believe this funding will help propel UT Arlington toward becoming one of the next Tier One universities in Texas."
Elizabeth C. Poster, dean of UT Arlington's School of Nursing, said this funding is vital to admitting more of the 8,000 qualified applicants who cannot be accommodated each year in a Texas nursing school.
"It is clear that nursing, more now than ever before, is a highly sought-after profession," Poster said. "It is our responsibility to create innovative ways to provide quality nursing education for large numbers of future nurses. These are exciting times with opportunities for creativity in the use of new technologies."
UT Arlington's Bachelor of Science Nursing program is one of the 20 largest in the nation and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. For more information about UT Arlington School of Nursing, go to www.uta.edu/nursing or call 817-272-2776.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.