SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 23, 2017) ― A partnership between Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, now called UT Health San Antonio, will offer a new certificate nursing program to address the severe shortage of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in South Texas.
Dr. Glenda Walker, TAMIU dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and its Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing, said the idea for the program was driven by critical need and quantifiable data.
“Very simply put, the overwhelming need for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in South Texas is stunning. In Webb County, an area of more than 3,300 square miles, and over 269,721 people, there is one mental health provider for every 6,479 residents. In Jim Hogg and Starr Counties, the numbers are equally grim: one mental health provider for every 2,633 Jim Hogg residents, and one mental health provider for every 1,832 Starr County residents. In Zapata County, some 1,058 square miles in size, and with over 14,374 residents, there is not a single mental health provider. Further exacerbating that need is that in many counties, such as Webb and Zapata, more than 40 percent of residents are primarily Spanish speakers, adding another potential barrier to quality patient treatment,” Dr. Walker explained.
Walker said TAMIU joined forces with UT Health San Antonio, a champion of health education in South Texas, to address this shortage of mental health providers. Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing at UT Health, said, “We are pleased to work with TAMIU to provide advanced education to nurses in this region. As one of only a few nursing schools in Texas with this certificate program, we will offer six prospective students, identified by TAMIU faculty, the opportunity to enroll in our Post-Graduate Certificate Program for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. With this certificate, our graduates will be qualified to offer leading-edge mental health care services in diverse settings in this underserved area.”
The partnership includes recruiting, enrolling and educating six nurses from Webb and surrounding counties into the UT Health program. Offered as a hybrid model with collaborative preceptor and clinical support arrangements, this program includes 23 course hours and 600 clinical hours at four approved regional clinical supervision sites in South Texas.
A Memorandum of Agreement was signed by TAMIU and UT Health representatives earlier this month. The program will begin in Spring 2019.
For more information on the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program delivered by TAMIU and UT Health San Antonio, please contact Dr. Marivic Torregosa, director of Graduate Programs for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences’ Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing, at (956) 326-2456, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, suite 312.
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