HSC to launch College of Nursing

Simulation Tools 023The UNT System Board of Regents voted at its February meeting to help address the shortage of nurses in Texas by approving the creation of a College of Nursing at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth.

HSC is in the early stages of a nationwide search for a dean to lead the new college.

In the coming months, HSC leadership will focus on recruiting, developing courses, and working on administrative and licensing steps for the new College of Nursing. Individual degree programs within the college will be launched in conjunction with oversight by various bodies such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Board of Nursing and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

“At HSC, we plan to leverage our interprofessional ecosystem, research enterprise and the many strengths we have across the UNT System to create an innovative college,” said Dr. Charles Taylor, HSC provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We are committed to producing outstanding nurse leaders who embrace whole-person health, address health disparities, and ensure safe, high-quality care in the communities where we live and work.”

Taylor has created an advisory group made up of current HSC staff and faculty with nursing credentials to provide input into the development of the new college. He also is reaching out to key experts off campus for guidance.

A Nurse Journal study found that nurses make up the largest segment of the health care workforce, and the profession has faced ongoing shortages for the past several years because of the ever-increasing demand for nursing skills and services. Texas has the second-fewest nurses per capita in the U.S., and regional nursing schools have been unable to address the demand, turning away approximately 30,000 qualified applicants over the past two years because of a lack of room in nursing programs.

“Texas is grappling with a significant nursing shortage,” said Jack Frazee, director of Government Affairs and General Counsel for the Texas Nurses Association. “There is no better way to address this challenge than through education. Nurses are the bedrock of the health care system in the U.S. and around the world. The entire health care ecosystem will benefit from a new school of nursing.”

Creation of the College of Nursing is a priority for HSC’s president, Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, whose background is in nursing. Prior to joining the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Trent-Adams was a nurse officer in the U.S. Army and a research nurse at the University of Maryland.

“The need for an HSC College of Nursing is urgent,” she said. “As an institution with a mission of creating solutions for a healthier community, we have a moral obligation to take bold steps to fill this gap in health care.

“We have the privilege of creating this vitally important new college from scratch. We can tailor every facet of the student experience to ensure that any nurse leaving this institution will have the educational foundation, values and support they need to best serve our community.”

The new College of Nursing will join five other colleges and schools offering degree programs at HSC: the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health, School of Health Professions and College of Pharmacy.

“Creating a college takes a tremendous amount of effort and steady leadership,” said Dr. Michael R. Williams, UNT System chancellor and former HSC president. “I’m grateful to President Trent-Adams, Provost Taylor and all the stakeholders at HSC who are undaunted by this massive undertaking. Together, and with input from the health care community, I’m confident HSC’s College of Nursing will offer an unparalleled learning experience rooted in real-world problem-solving.

“With Texas having the second-fewest nurses per capita of any state in the nation, the new college will only help with the demand for nurses and will help meet our health care needs and demands. I look forward to seeing the transformative impact this new college will have across the UNT System and all of North Texas for generations to come.”

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