DATE:  August 25, 2004
CONTACT: Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean, College of Nursing and Health
Sciences, (361) 825-2649; Steve Paschal, Public Affairs (361) 825-2336

New Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Accelerated Degree Program to Address Nationwide Nursing Shortage
College graduates put on “fast track” to bachelor’s degree in nursing

College graduates looking to enter the nursing profession can get on the “fast track” to a bachelor of science in nursing degree through a ground-breaking program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

With the beginning of the fall 2004 semester this week, the University’s new College of Nursing and Health Sciences launched its accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for a second-degree program which allows participants to graduate in 18 months instead of two years. Under the program, students will take an additional clinical course in the second and third semesters for a total of 18 semester hours. Courses and clinical hours for the accelerated program are identical to the standard program with the exception of the compressed format.

To be admitted to the program, applicants must hold either a bachelor of science or bachelor of arts in another discipline with at least a 3.0 grade point average. Candidates must also have completed the required nursing program prerequisites.

This year, the U.S. Department of Labor identified, for the first time, registered nurses as the top occupation in the country in terms of projected job growth through the year 2012. South Texas, excluding Bexar County, has the fewest registered nurses per 100,000-population in the Texas.

“In recent years, Texas and the entire nation have experienced a well-publicized nursing shortage,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean of the new College. “Even with increased enrollment in Texas nursing schools, the number of RN graduates is insufficient. By compressing the current nursing program for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree, more registered nurses can be placed in the workforce more quickly to fill this critical need.”

The program originated from discussions between Dr. Hamilton and Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, president of the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System; and Dr. Juan Castro, director of the A&M Health Science Center’s Coastal Bend Health Education Center. The supporting partnership, which raised $200,000 to hire faculty and support staff for the program, includes the Coastal Bend Health Education Center, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System and Driscoll Children’s Hospital.