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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Academics & Research

New nursing college named top program in Texas


One of the goals of the nursing college is to prepare leaders to be able to serve their communities. | Courtesy of UH College of Nursing

The College of Nursing is one of the newest colleges at UH — earning its college designation within the last year — but it has rapidly excelled and become home to the best nursing program in the state of Texas.

The nursing school is small, with only 9 undergraduates enrolled in the RN-BSN program and 89 in the second degree BSN at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, but over the past three years, all of its students passed the National Council of State Boards Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses.

“We have the most amazing faculty and staff who teach and guide our students,” Kathryn Tart, professor and founding dean of the College of Nursing, said in an email. “The expertise of the faculty is unparalleled, and we also have outstanding clinical partners where our students practice nursing.”

This success has led to it being named as the top nursing program in Texas for 2018 from the advocacy organization RegisteredNursing.org.

“University of Houston – College of Nursing offers excellent and flexible programs for those busy students who want to obtain a degree in nursing,” reads a statement explaining the top ranking on its website. “With a strong educational foundation, graduates enter the workforce confidently and prepared to take on challenges ahead.”

The program began at University of Houston Victoria in 2006, then transitioned to the University of Houston in September 2015. It became the College of Nursing on March 2, 2017. With its 100 percent pass rate three years running, it is among the top five percent of nursing programs in the country.

Tart said that a part of the college’s rapid rise is attributed to the leadership valuing diversity among its students, who in turn want to excel and become nurse leaders and clinicians. She also credits the University for its role in expanding the program.

“The UH administration has the vision for expanding health-related education for students at the University of Houston and continue with their support,” Tart said.

Taking pride in their accomplishments has led to a feeling among the students that they are in one of the best places to practice nursing in the country, she said.

Assistant clinical professor Sandra Lee said in an email that nursing offers students the opportunity to be engaged in work dedicated to the public good, and there’s no better place to learn than in Houston.

“Students who choose UH are coming to an opportunity to learn, grow lead and receive a degree from a Tier One research university,” Lee said. “Faculty are not only top experts in their fields, but also deeply care about educating.”

Houston is widely regarded as having one of the best medical centers in the country. U.S. News ranks MD Anderson as the best cancer center in the nation, and three of its top five Texas hospitals (Houston Methodist, St. Luke’s, Memorial Hermann) are based in the city.

Tart said prospective graduates have seen the outcomes of alumni who have been at the school and what they go on to do, so they know the College of Nursing is worth their investment. She wants to attract more students to the college and has made recruitment one of her top priorities.

Lee said the college is focused on training the best leaders possible, and regardless of difficulty, students should follow their dreams.

“Every nurse is a leader in some way,” Lee said. “With the right education, support and mentoring, nurses learn to lead in ways that make a positive, critical difference in (their communities).”

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