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LONGVIEW, July 17, 2014— LeTourneau University was approved today by the Texas Board of Nursing to begin offering a new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree beginning in Fall 2014 at its main campus in Longview, Texas, according to LETU President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford. The new program is pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
“This decision today by the Texas Board of Nursing to authorize LETU to award the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree follows many months of extensive planning by the university, endorsements by regional hospitals and health care providers and a comprehensive evaluation by the Texas Board of Nursing,” Lunsford said. “LETU has built an esteemed reputation for excellence in our science and technical academic programs. The addition of nursing will further advance our STEM programs and give students the opportunity to learn nursing practice in a Christian context. It’s a great day for LETU and for the quality of health care in East Texas.”
LETU’s new nursing program is designed to be delivered through face-to-face courses with online enhancements and supervised, hands-on clinical experiences in a variety of health care settings. LETU’s new Dean of Nursing is Dr. Kimberly Quiett who brings 24 years of nursing experience to lead the new school. Two faculty members, Dr. Kristina Ibitayo and Jennifer Bray, bring nursing clinical and educational experience to LETU.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported in 2012 that one-third of occupations expected to grow in the next several years are related to health care. Increases in nursing employment of about 26% are projected from 2010 and 2020, resulting in the need for more than 700,000 new nurses by 2020, based on expected increased demands placed on the health care sector by the aging population and growth of the health care industry. This, plus the potential exit of retiring nurses as the economy recovers, increases the demand for quality nursing education programs.
“Texas is below the national average number of nurses per capita, according to a 2012-2013 study by the Health Resources and Services Administration,” Quiett said. “Texas ranks 45th in the U.S. for registered nurses per 100,000 population. Professionally trained nurses are vital for providing good health care to the citizens of Texas. LETU’s new program provides additional educational opportunities for future nurses.
“Nursing is a profession guided by the spirit of service and is well placed at LeTourneau University,” Quiett said. “Nursing fits ideally with LETU’s mission by developing students who are competent and use ingenuity in the provision of compassionate care incorporating Christian virtue. The nursing profession is dynamic; therefore, student nurses who are taught to develop strong leadership and problem-solving skills will be prepared to direct health care endeavors into future generations.”
In keeping with the mission of LETU, the School of Nursing’s vision is to provide an innovative educational program inspiring students and faculty to express Christian virtue through their contributions of nursing care and leadership to patients and families locally and globally, Quiett said.
LETU’s nursing curriculum comprises 126 credit hours. These hours are divided among general education courses, prerequisite courses and nursing courses. Clinical nursing courses provide hands-on experiences creatively designed to enrich the learning experience.
LETU’s new School of Nursing has already secured clinical affiliation agreements with 19 local health care and community agencies to ensure students gain a wide range of clinical learning experiences. The goal is for LETU nursing students to work in multiple settings, with a variety of cultures, age groups, socio-economic variations, and an array of clinical issues and problems. Through these experiences, LETU nursing graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of health care situations and will be equipped to lead improvements in health care, Quiett said.
LETU nursing students will be encouraged to take advantage of global service learning opportunities, Quiett said, adding that the curriculum plan allows for a service learning experience abroad, coordinated with faculty during the summer. Currently, LETU nursing faculty members are working to partner with an established ministry in Guatemala to provide health services and education through global learning projects.
"Since many LETU students are mission-minded and will be doing global ministry as a part of their nursing career path, including this type of work in their clinical experiences is important,” Quiett said. “Likewise, many students graduating from LETU will see work within the church as foundational to their nursing practice.”
The dean said she is seeking partnerships with local churches where students will be able to participate with faculty in nursing ministry to the congregation. Working with these churches will provide students community-based clinical experiences with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Applications are currently being accepted for transfer students as well as freshman students. To inquire, and learn additional information concerning the new LETU School of Nursing, visit www.letu.edu/nursing.
© 2017 Tomlinson-Leis Communications L.P.