TAMIU Nursing in Sync with National Appraisal

TAMIU Nursing in Sync with
National Appraisal of Nursing

Interim Dean of Texas A&M International University’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Natalie Burkhalter, said she’s elated to find that the Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing stands shoulder to shoulder with the findings of a national nursing review.

This week, the National League of Nursing released its annual Nursing Data Review, Academic Year 2005-06. The Review offers a landscape view of nursing education programs, isolating trends and underscoring challenges.

The Review notes an increasing percentage of pre-licensure students who are members of minority groups and indicates that this brings a much-needed national element of cultural competence on the part of health care providers.

“Since our program was founded in 1995, that’s what we’ve been all about. In addition to having an 87 percent Hispanic enrollment, our curriculum is founded on a Trans-cultural Model of Nursing that is culturally sensitive to this region and others, insuring relevance to the service communities,” Burkhalter said.

The Review also highlighted increased participation by men electing to join the profession, with a healthy 12.1 percent of all 2006 nursing graduates now male.

Burkhalter concurred that TAMIU has also seen growth among male students choosing nursing.

“This semester, of all 58 senior nursing students, we have 16 male students enrolled with a 27 percent male graduating class. I think men are realizing that it’s a noble profession and rewarding on many fronts, not the least of which is financial,” she said.

The Review documented a national rise in admissions of 5 percent across all nursing programs with the highest increase being among baccalaureate degree programs like those offered by TAMIU.

“This is a trend we expect will grow geometrically,” Burkhalter said, “the BSN degree remains the expected entry into the management and supervisory areas of nursing and greatly enhances career mobility.”

The longtime Dr. F. M. Canseco School of Nursing faculty member said she was especially proud to see that TAMIU’s retention rate and on-time graduation rate of over 76 percent was well in line with national trends observed by the Review showing 72 percent retention/graduation across the country. 

“We work very hard with our students and have developed special programs to assist them with what is admittedly a rigorous and demanding program. We have specialty labs, mentors and increased faculty availability…all of which have posted positive results in student performance,” she said.

With pluses come minuses, and the survey revealed that nursing programs, including 150 new programs, are turning students away, primarily because of the daunting shortage of nurse educators. Nationally, baccalaureate degree programs are turning away as many as 20 percent of applicants, according to the Review.

“The standards of instruction are very high and we must have a certain number of faculty in order to assure a quality program is delivered. While we have not had any problems in meeting our class size goals here at TAMIU, we would certainly welcome an opportunity to increase our class sizes if we were successful in attracting new faculty. To that end, we’re growing our own by supporting three of our current faculty in their doctoral pursuits,” Burkhalter explained.

TAMIU Canseco School of Nursing class sizes average about 35-75, which is consistent with faculty mandates. At present there are 9 full time faculty and 16 part-time clinical faculty.

All in all, Burkhalter said she’s encouraged by the national Review and TAMIU’s concurrence.

“At the end of the day, our students are the beneficiary and when they graduate and join the profession, our communities are the final beneficiary of a remarkable new force for giving of themselves, caring and healing,” she smiled.

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