A $3.5 million HCA Houston Healthcare donation to the University of Houston’s College of Nursing will benefit programs in Sugar Land and programs at UH’s future location in Katy.

The University of Houston at Sugar Land campus’s nursing program has been around for 10 years and has 140 students, UH College of Nursing Dean Kathryn Tart said. The new University of Houston at Katy campus opens this fall and will debut the traditional four-year BSN program, which will accommodate up to 30 students in its first cohort, according to UH.

Funds will be split among three areas:

  • $2 million will fund the HCA Houston Healthcare Nursing Faculty Endowment to support the increased number of adjunct or full-time faculty members at HCA-affiliated facilities.

  • $1 million will fund the HCA Houston Healthcare Simulation Center opening at UH at Katy to provide hands-on, real-world clinical training and research using interactive modules. The center will be used to support the educational needs of nursing and health care professionals.

  • $500,000 will be earmarked for the HCA Houston Healthcare Endowed Professorship in Undergraduate Studies to fund the bachelor of science in nursing director and to expand BSN instruction and research.

“We want to expand our nursing programs everywhere the University of Houston has a footprint,” Tart said. “It is a wonderful gift that will help all of our undergraduate programs. Our goal is to have 80% of our nurses receive a bachelor’s degree by 2020.”

She said nurses typically like to go to school where they live and work, and the additional program in Katy will provide more nursing education closer to home.

Including the new program in Katy, UH nursing students will have more options for education. One already offered is a Registered Nurse to BSN program for students with an associate degree who want to get a bachelor’s degree. Another, offered exclusively on the Sugar Land campus, is a nursing license for students who have degrees in another field. The new BSN program in Katy will have students take courses for the first two years on the main UH campus and then move to the Katy campus for the last two years of the program, Tart said.

In addition, UH will bring in new faculty and an endowed professor who will oversee and direct the programs, she said.

“Everybody in Katy and Sugar Land should be thrilled to have this in their backyard,” Tart said. “This is Tier 1 education right here.”