University's Canseco School of Nursing Seeing Major Growth

Across the nation, fewer students are enrolling in nursing schools but that's not the case at Texas A&M International University's Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing.

The applicant pool for the Canseco School of Nursing doubled its first year and has now tripled, said the School's Director, Dr. Susan S. Baker.

Why has the Canseco School of Nursing met with such success? Dr. Baker believes it is because the School "is dedicated to preparing registered nurses who are highly skilled, bilingual, culturally competent, and dedicated to the health care needs of the community."

"Our goal is to provide the best possible nursing education to prepare future nurses. From its inception, the School has built a transcultural nursing curriculum that provides the classroom learning and the clinical practicum experiences necessary to establish a highly competent expert level of professional nursing in Laredo," she noted.

The Canseco School of Nursing offers two undergraduate degrees, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses (RN/BSN). A Master of Science degree in Nursing is in the planning stage.

Every course in the nursing curriculum carries a cultural component to prepare students to serve an increasingly diverse population.

"Because of Laredo's geographic isolation and strong local cultural identity, many students are not exposed to different cultures. Prejudice and discrimination are difficult concepts for students to understand. The cultural component increases students' awareness of other cultural beliefs and practices," she explained.

She noted that although nationwide, no more than 2 -3 percent of nurses are of Hispanic heritage, 93% of nursing students at A&M International are of Hispanic heritage.

"The community looks to us to help address the critical shortage of nurses to serve the needs of a population that has grown 40% in the past decade. Nurses graduating from the Canseco School of Nursing will be instrumental in realizing the University's mission of improving the quality of life for citizens of South Texas and nearby international communities," explained Dr. Baker.

She added that financial aid including federal packages, scholarships, loans, and student employment, is available to A&M International students. One recently awarded grant, the Professional Nursing Educational Mobility Grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust, specifically helps A&M International's nursing students. The $100,000 grant promotes the success of Licensed Vocational Nurses pursuing Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees by providing "cost of living" stipends to supplement existing financial aid.

For more information on the nursing program at A&M International, please contact the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing at 326-2450. University hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu