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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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School of Nursing finds a home at the main campus


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Although there are tuition differences between UH-Victoria and the main campus, Cougars are excited for the change to attend nursing school. | Sonia Zuniga/The Cougar

The School of Nursing is becoming a full-blown University program, after moving around various satellite campuses. The school has now made its way to the main campus, and will commence classes in the fall semester.

“The program was under the University of Houston — Victoria banner, meaning that the degree given was from that University, and now the University of Houston will be giving the degree,” said Dean Kathryn Tart of the School of Nursing. “We were in Victoria, Sugar Land, and Cinco Ranch in Katy, and for a period of time we were in the Woodlands so now … we’ll be going to the main campus.”

This expansion promises more to students by bringing the School of Nursing closer to more doctoral and research opportunities.

“The University of Houston can eventually offer us a doctoral program that UHV could not,” Tart said. “I think UH sees the larger picture of what the nursing profession can become. We need more nurses with their bachelor’s degrees, and we need more nurses in doctoral studies. UH is allowing that to happen by developing more health professional programs for a more educated workforce and more nursing research.”

By offering the program at Sugar Land and its affiliation with the main campus, the School of Nursing hopes to reach to a larger pool of future healthcare professionals who may not have heard of the program before.

“I believe that the main campus could bring a lot more attention to the School of Nursing than UHV,” said Chelsea Price, the program coordinator.

She said that UH-Victoria didn’t have the name recognition that the main campus has, and that student interest is generating more now with the shift. But moving the school to the main campus does not mean that all those satellite campuses and former homes for nursing will no longer take part in the program.

“We will still be attending the campus in Sugar Land,” said Kristen Torneda, a nursing student who expects to finish the second degree nursing program by December. “Jordan Sass has done an awesome job at keeping the students informed on the change and guiding us through all the steps.”

But graduating through the core of the University system comes at a high cost for prospective students. While the School of Nursing was mindful of the financial situations of current students transferring, future students will have to look at a pretty penny.

“The (main) change from UHV to UH would be increased tuition,” Tondera said.

According to UHV’s online Billing and Financial catalog, a graduate nursing student who is a resident of Texas will pay a total cost of about about $4,523.90 for 15 semester hours. The 2016 academic calendar for UH estimated $7875.00 for 15 semester hours just for tuition and consolidated costs alone as a student in the School of Nursing.

“Students who transferred from Victoria to UH did not have their tuition increased. Students being admitted for this fall through the UH tuition will have to pay more,” Tart said. “People who are applying now are applying to that amount (charged by UH) but people who transferred from UHV to UH have not been harmed at all.”

Despite the rise in tuition, more students have been able to apply to School of Nursing now that they are aware of it through its ties to the UH system as a part of the Sugar Land campus.

“I’ve already seen the effects that the news of our program has had on student interest,” Price said. “Our programs themselves aren’t changing, so I think our students will appreciate that we are keeping our current valued faculty and procedures. Our current and future students will continue to benefit from the innovative nature and excellence of our programs for a long time to come.”

The School of Nursing is among the the top 4 percent in the nation. This comes from a 100 percent first-time pass NCLEX-RN pass rate, the test that gives students the go-ahead to practice as an entry-level nurse. There is also a 100 percent pass rate of the Family Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam as of the May 2015 FNP class.

“Nursing is a very, very, very important profession,” Tart said. “Everybody at some point in their life is touched by a nurse from the time you are born, to the time you die, a nurse cares for you. Our students want to provide the very best care based on what we call evidence based care and they take their studies and their practice seriously, especially at UH. They know they make a difference in people’s lives every day.”

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