Texas State University Round Rock campus gets grant for nursing program

The St. David's Foundation announced Feb. 4 the approval of a $2 million grant to Texas State University to assist in starting a master's degree in nursing program at the school's Round Rock campus.

The new program is expected to begin this fall with an planned class enrollment of 38 students, Texas State President Denise Trauth said.

"[The new program] demonstrates how responsive to the state's health care needs we are trying to be," Trauth said.

Trauth noted that Texas ranks among the bottom 10 states in terms of its ratio of primary care physicians (PCPs) to population—a number that could become worse if the state's population continues to grow rapidly. According to data provided by Texas State, the national average ratio is 121 PCPs per 100,000 people. In Texas, there are 95.6 PCPs per 100,000 people.

"Expanding this program helps the state meet its health care deficiencies," said Gene Bourgeois, Texas State provost and vice president of academic affairs. "In Texas, the number of nurses graduating each year is insufficient. Fortunately, student demand for this program is very strong."

In 2006, the St. David's Foundation provided $6 million to help start the St. David's School of Nursing at the Texas State University Round Rock campus. The school currently hosts a bachelor's degree in nursing program that annually graduates about 100 students.

The St. David's Foundation donates proceeds from the St. David's Healthcare system toward health care programs throughout Central Texas. According to a news release, the foundation expects to invest $46 million in 2013 through grants to local agencies, clinics and health initiatives.

"We just saw [the Texas State nursing grant] as a strategic investment," said Michael Wilson, St. David's Foundation program officer for health, aging and healthy futures. "There is future interest in developing a doctorate program [in Round Rock]."