New Pacesetters Program Will Help Students "Live the Life of a Nurse" While Earning B.S.N.
HOUSTON - (Oct. 22, 2009) - The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing is now seeking applicants eligible for admission to its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program to sign up for its new Pacesetters option.
A redesigning of the four-semester B.S.N. curriculum, the first three semesters in the Pacesetters program will be classroom, simulation and limited clinical studies. During the final semester, students will have full-time clinical rotations over 16 weeks.
This new concept, which is open to 50 B.S.N. students for fall 2010, is being developed by a task force chaired by Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Cathy Rozmus, D.S.N., R.N.
"Our goal is to create an educational experience that will get the student living the life of a nurse while still in nursing school and help develop the strong critical thinking skills demanded by a clinical workplace," said Rozmus.
In the typical nursing school curriculum, a student may go to class (or have online work) two days a week and train in clinic two days per week for a semester. Often, the two clinical days will be in different hospitals - for example, one day for psychiatric nursing and one day for pediatric nursing. The student might not get any continuity-of-care experience and receive brief, limited contact with each hospital's system of care, location of supplies, charting methods, etc. In the UT School of Nursing at Houston's Pacesetter program, these 50 B.S.N. students will have one semester consisting of 40 hours per week of clinical experience in the same hospital system.
Clinical partners, such as the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, will help the nursing school schedule the Pacesetter B.S.N. students for the necessary 16 weeks of full-time clinical experience.
"Memorial Hermann Healthcare System is delighted to partner with the UT School of Nursing on this initiative to enhance senior student exposure to clinical practice. This program will add to the graduate nurses' skill set and begin the process of entry into the professional nursing workforce before graduation," said Memorial Hermann Healthcare System Executive for Nursing Tim Bevelacqua, R.N. "The desired end result is a more job-ready graduate whose transition to professional practice has been improved."
"The Pacesetters program is a win-win for everybody and, potentially, a national model for new educational approaches to addressing the nationwide nursing shortage," said UT School of Nursing Dean Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N., R.N.
Prerequisite coursework (60 total hours) for the B.S.N. can be completed at any accredited institution. The B.S.N. application deadline is Jan. 15, 2010.
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