Canseco Hall

About the School


The Canseco School of Nursing grew from the commitment of the Laredo community to address the unmet health needs of the city and surrounding border area. The curriculum, designed for the special needs of a culturally diverse population, is based on theories of transcultural nursing and human caring. The innovative, community-based curriculum combines mastery of acute clinical nursing competencies with effective community development strategies.Approval was received in September 1994 for a Baccalaureate completion program (RN/BSN)  for Associate Degree Registered Nurses, and the first students were admitted in January 1995. The RN/BSN program received full accreditation from the Texas Board of Nurse Examiners in May 1996. Following the graduation of the first student and in October 1997, the program earned 5 years Initial Accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Success of the RN/BSN program and the increasing need for Registered Nurses in Laredo and the surrounding community led to approval of the Basic Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program (BSN) for implementation in Fall 1998. Reaccreditation of the BSN programs and initial accreditation of the MSN program by Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) was received in 2010 (ACEN 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Georgia 30326 (404) 975-5000).

The growth and development of the Canseco School of Nursing has been made possible by the outstanding support received from the Laredo community. The Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust and Mercy Health Systems of Texas have provided funding for program development and faculty and student support. Spacious, state-of-the-art facilities in Canseco Hall and an endowed scholarship fund serve as a family memorial to noted Laredo physician and his wife, Dr. F. M. and Mrs. Consuelo Canseco.

Mission Statement

The mission of The Canseco School of Nursing is to prepare professional nurses to improve the well being of complex and diverse populations. As an international city spanning the border between the United States and Mexico, Laredo (with its sister city Nuevo Laredo) offers a culturally, economically and politically unique setting in which health problems originating in either country merge as residents of Texas and Mexico live and work together.The faculty believe that professional nursing education must address a wide range of health beliefs in combination with dynamic political, social, economic and legal issues. The border setting provides students the opportunity to appreciate that people's health beliefs often vary in significant and meaningful ways, that solutions for health problems are defined by radically different health care contexts, and that measures for resolving or managing health problems are affected by economic and social value systems. Despite the complexities inherent in such an environment, the faculty are convinced that this bicultural setting affords an ideal opportunity for students to learn to appreciate that clients are unique, worthy of respect, and capable of making their own life choices about matters of health and illness.

Teaching and Learning

The faculty believe that professional nurses have distinct educational needs and practice responsibilities. As adult learners, students enter the program with a foundation of knowledge and their own unique values, understandings and experiences. The faculty believe that nursing education is a lifelong process that includes formal and informal components, and that teaching and learning are reciprocal activities during which faculty and students learn from each other. To effectively serve a diverse population and to address rapid changes in health care systems and treatment, nurses must develop critical thinking skills which will enhance creative and flexible problem solving within their own practice. The faculty believe that diverse and changing health care needs can best be met by practice based on theory and research that is continually evaluating and modifying the standards of care. The faculty of the School of Nursing are committed to educating outstanding clinicians, scholars, health advocates, mentors and leaders who will be instrumental in addressing the health care needs of communities. The Faculty believe that strong communication skills are essential to enactment of these roles, and that professional nurses must also be increasingly concerned with the ethical, legal, political and socioeconomic dimensions of their practice. The faculty believe it is essential to promote the personal development and educational advancement of its students, to provide opportunities for research and creative expression, and to remain highly responsive through its educational program to the community. The Faculty believe that nurses graduating from this program will be instrumental in realizing the University's mission of improving the quality of life for citizens of South Texas and nearby international communities.


Nursing is a learned and complex therapeutic process through which the nurse engages individuals, families, or communities for the purpose of meeting health needs. Nurses understand health and illness to be relative conditions of human existence involving intricate balances between life experiences and biological phenomena. To be effective in the nursing role, the nurse is required to develop, synthesize, and work from a broad framework based on the humanities and the social and biological sciences. Furthermore, the unique nature of nurse-client relationships is derived from a broad understanding of the knowing of persons within their environments and the therapeutic use of self. Effective nurses design and implement innovative strategies that reflect caring through understanding, respect, appreciation, involvement, and advocacy.

Nursing Roles

Nursing roles and responsibilities in the 21st Century are likely to change significantly from nursing practice as we know it today. The current foundation of health information on which nurses must base their practices is often unclear concerning how many health problems can be prevented. Until research can provide explanatory and predictive models on which to build effective preventive strategies, much nursing time and effort will continue to be devoted to caring for people with health problems and helping people either regain health status jeopardized by illness or adapt to significant, permanent changes in health. Although the present structure of the U.S. health care system has dictated for decades that most of the nursing care provided to ill persons be delivered within institutional settings, current trends suggest that nurses will be increasingly involved in broader community-based health care models and systems. Institution-based care in the future will serve as a short-term, highly technical, and procedure-driven component of the larger community-based system. Nurses will be responsible for overseeing the health care of members of communities over prolonged time intervals. Demands for such changes in the nurses' role will require added emphases on analytic, education, leadership, and scholarship functions. It is also anticipated that nurses in the emergent health care system will need to provide and manage health care in ways that are cost-effective, consumer-oriented, and likely to result in optimal health.

There are many challenges which lie ahead for professional nurses. Community-based health care, including care provided in hi-tech institutions, will have to be culturally appropriate and connected with persons at some very personal and intimate level to be effective. Nursing education in a border community presents opportunities for the advancement of nursing practice through the examination and exploration of concepts of culture and human caring.


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5201 University Boulevard, Laredo, TX 78041-1900 Work956.326.2100