Headline for Featured Item #1 Lifeline to a New Generation of Health Professions - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi - Discover Your Island

Lifeline to a New Generation of Health Professions

April 24, 2013


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Dr. Bunny Forgione sits in her office at Island Hall in the evening, discussing the proper procedures for her maternal newborn nursing. There’s no one else in the room, because her students are all at least 10 miles away, taking the online course from the comfort of their own homes.

Online programs, including the undergraduate eLine, eLine Military and the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences are leading the charge to relieve nursing shortages across the state.

“These programs cater to students who are passionate about the profession as well as those looking to change professions,” said Dr. Forgione, Associate Dean of Nursing and an eLine professor. “Students work at their own pace, and the programs are expanding the opportunity for others to come into the field.”

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports the state will need 71,000 nurses by 2020 as demand continues to outpace supply.

“There’s also a shortage of nursing faculty and dependable nurses in hospitals,” said Forgione.

Recognized nationally by U.S. News & World Report, the MSN program uses the latest techniques in technology-based learning for those who do not have time for the traditional classroom settings. It’s now the fourth-largest MSN program in the state.

Dr. Eve Layman, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in Nursing Education, says the online programs were designed for full-time workers who still want a quality education but cannot access the old-fashioned way of the physical classroom.

“While we have countless hours of contact with students, we may only see them in person a handful of times,” Dr. Layman said.

Nursing students participating in the online programs utilize web conferencing options, such as Web X, Skype, and group chat to communicate with professors.

“This type of technology is crucial to our students’ success,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “Our programs are thriving and our faculty have become pioneers in the field of online learning.”

Meet a Student

Irene Singles, a married mother of two, is graduating in August through the eLine Military program. Nursing wasn’t her original career choice, but she says she is glad she has found her way.

“I didn’t want to go into nursing,” Singles said. “But I would have free time in the military to help the med staff in Iraq and doing that for a while was confirmation for me.”  

She was in the military for seven years before making the decision to go back to school while on active duty. Stationed in Colorado, Singles searched for universities that concentrated on online nursing programs and came across Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The eLine Military program is the only one in the country granting college credit for her military medical service.

“The nursing faculty here is very helpful,” Singles said. “I can call them or stop by their offices any time. They’re so responsive.” 

Singles says by being a part of the eLine Military program she can multitask, taking care of her children and doing homework.

“Going to school through this program has made things so much easier,” Singles said. “It would not have been possible for me to go to school and get an education without eLine.”

This story is one of several featured in our Spring 2013 edition of The Islander magazine.

You can read more great stories in our latest edition of The Islander online at http://theislander.tamucc.edu.

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