The University of Texas at Arlington Doing its Part to Keep North Texas Healthy With the demand for full-time registered nurses expected to exceed the supply by 70,000 in 2020, according to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, it’s good to know we have the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) providing a solution to the shortage. The UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation’s online nursing curriculum has one of the state’s highest graduation and licensure rates, with graduation and first-time National Council Licensure Examination pass rates exceeding 90 percent. The innovative accelerated bachelor of science degree in nursing program provides blended online, technology-enhanced courses with faculty-supervised clinical experiences at partner hospitals throughout the state. By delivering coursework online, UTA is able to admit more nursing students. By helping them gain hands-on experience in hospitals, the program is able to graduate nurses that will make a difference. The majority of clinical experiences students receive takes place in the healthcare partner’s facilities, enhancing the new graduate’s readiness to practice while minimizing the time needed for new nurse orientation, ultimately saving the healthcare organization both time and money. According to Jeanean Boyd, DNP, MSN, RN, chair of undergraduate nursing for the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at UTA, there are many benefits to students partnering with hospitals for clinical rotations. “Not only does our nursing faculty supervise students in the facilities, but they also become role models,” she said. “Often, the host hospital will hire our graduates; some are already employees. “The benefit of networking is it connects education with hospitals, and you become partners, as well as a partnering between nurses. We keep in touch with how the practice is changing, what skills are needed for nurses, and what our young students need to understand for overall care.” 40 WWW.NTC-DFW.ORG SUMMER 2018 UTA’s nurse practitioner master’s of science in nursing (MSN) online program is helping fill another gap – where there simply aren’t enough physicians to provide care, nurse practitioners can step in and provide care themselves, operating at the top of their licensure and maximizing their potential. By offering courses online, UTA is able to reach a population of nurses, most who are working, many of whom with families, who want to achieve a higher level of education and experience but do not have the time or resources to stop working to devote themselves only to pursuing a graduate degree. UTA’s online MSN program allows them to do both and, with five programs offered, allows them to become a specialist in an area that they are interested in pursuing: pediatric acute care nurse practitioner, pediatric primary care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and family nurse practitioner. This advanced training allows nurses to handle the many aspects of patient care, each specific to their area of expertise. The family nurse practitioner, for example, receives intensive training in the primary care practice to manage the needs of patients and families at each stage of life, with specialized knowledge in the areas of pharmacology, diagnostics, health assessment and advanced research and clinical management. They complete clinical experiences that prepare them for a role as an advanced practice primary care nurse. UTA partners with healthcare facilities that provide the opportunity for nurses to get a nurse practitioner certificate. Many nurses choose to do clinical requirements in the facility where they already work. These facilities have realized the best way to recruit a nurse practitioner is to take the nurse as a student, cutting the orientation process in half, with an added benefit that they reap for identifying people that are committed to their organization and to achieving a higher level of education and training.