The Texas State University System Board of Regents has authorized Texas State University to offer a new master’s degree program to help address a critical healthcare issue in Texas – the need for more primary care providers.
The board, meeting Nov. 15 on the campus of Sam Houston State University, approved a Master of Science in Nursing degree with a major in Family Nurse Practitioner to be offered at Texas State’s Round Rock campus through its St. David’s School of Nursing.
The new master’s curriculum is a 21-month program in which registered nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree advance their skills for certification as a nurse practitioner.
The program must also be approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Board of Nursing. The university plans to begin offering the program in the fall of 2013.
Ruth Welborn, dean of the Texas State College of Health Professions, said Texas ranks 42nd in the nation in the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 population.
“Texas State University is committed to improving the health and well-being of the people who live here in Central Texas and other underserved areas. This program can help alleviate the shortage of primary care providers in Texas and provide healthcare solutions for entire families,” said Welborn.
Marla Erbin-Roesemann, director of the St. David’s School of Nursing, said the focus of the Family Nurse Practitioner program is primary care of families and individuals across their life spans. Graduates will be prepared to treat diverse populations, with knowledge to promote health and to assess patients of all ages.
“When the program is fully implemented, we will be producing 38 graduates a year, and many of those will be employed right here in Central Texas in community and provider network clinics,” she said.
The program will be housed in the Nursing Building on Texas State’s Round Rock campus. Completed in 2010, the building was constructed with the idea that there would be further growth and expansion of Texas State’s School of Nursing, including the master’s program and a possible future Doctorate of Nurse Practice program.
The building supports the program’s innovative curriculum in a variety of clinical practice and simulation labs and offers ample office space for additional faculty members, as well as graduate assistants. The research wing includes facilities for conducting focus groups, administering surveys and compiling date. There is also ample space to support the staff and records a new program would require.
The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises eight institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University; Sul Ross State University; Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.