SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 16, 2009) — For the second time this fall, the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funds to bring more nursing students into the workforce.
Based on the School of Nursing’s track record of increasing its graduates to stem the nursing workforce shortage, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board awarded the school $210,688 on Nov. 15, following a $300,000 award presented Sept. 30. Both awards were authorized by the 81st State Legislature of 2009 and were conveyed through the coordinating board’s Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction Program.
“The goal is to bring more nursing graduates into the workforce, which is getting smaller because many nurses are retiring,” explained School of Nursing Dean Eileen T. Breslin, RN, Ph.D. “Meanwhile, the large baby boomer generation is becoming older and will need more nurses to care for them in the future.”
The School of Nursing has a plan to gradually admit larger nursing classes in order to graduate more nursing professionals. The more students who graduate, the more funds the School of Nursing may qualify for to support the students’ education, explained Rudy Gomez, assistant dean for administration in the School of Nursing.
In fiscal year 2007-2008, the School of Nursing received a one-time award of $686,547 to increase its incoming nursing classes by about 40 students each year for two years. The Texas Legislature appropriated more funds during the following session in 2009. “The $210,668 we just received in November supports continuing instruction for those 80 students, because 41 more of our students graduated in 2009 than graduated in 2008,” Gomez said.
“Building on that, the $300,000 we received in September this year will support a larger incoming class beginning in fall 2010,” Dean Breslin added. If additional graduation benchmarks are met, the school may receive an additional $450,000 to increase its incoming class size in fall 2011 by an additional 45 students from current levels.
“We hope to increase our overall enrollment by 25 percent over the next five years,” Gomez said.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $668 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $36 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 26,400 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit www.uthscsa.edu.