SUGAR LAND – The city soon will have more nurses thanks to a generous donation from The George Foundation.
The $48,000 grant announced today will provide $3,000 scholarships to 16 Fort Bend County students taking classes at the University of Houston System at Sugar Land in the Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The degree is offered through the University of Houston-Victoria.
“These students will be individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree but have decided to start a rewarding career in the nursing field,” said Kathryn Tart, founding dean of the UHV School of Nursing. “This grant will improve the lives of these individuals and everyone who lives in Fort Bend County, all of whom will need healthcare services at some time in their lives.”
The scholarships will be awarded to students starting the yearlong program in January. Students who take 61 credit hours during the year and graduate will be eligible to sit for the Registered Nurse licensing exam.
Students who submit successful applications before the Nov. 1 deadline will be invited to apply for these and other scholarships, Tart said.
“The nursing shortage is a topic well reported across the nation, and the George Foundation Trustees have been addressing the shortage over the past 10 years by increasing support for scholarships to Fort Bend County residents choosing to pursue a nursing degree,” said Gene Reed, chairman of the Board of Trustees for the George Foundation. “In order to get more nurses on the floor quicker, the Foundation has taken an innovative approach by supporting this one-year, fast-track program delivered by UHV at UHSSL.”
Doing so helps support the foundation’s goal of improving life in the county it serves, he said.
“Scholarships are one of the greatest tools we have to fight the current nursing shortage,” Tart said. “With more scholarships, institutions of higher learning can produce more nurses and nurse educators to teach them.”
The demand for full-time registered nurses in Texas in 2008 exceeded supply by 22,000, according to the Texas Nursing Workforce Shortage Coalition. Unless there are major increases in funding for nurse education, this gap is expected to widen to 70,000 by 2020.
“Private foundations like the George Foundation are providing those much-needed funds for nursing education,” Tart said. “We are extremely grateful for their help and generosity.”
A foundation official said such donations are a part of fulfilling the mission of improving life in the county it serves.