The University of Houston-Clear Lake Pearland campus celebrated the grand opening of its Health Sciences and Classroom Building in May. One of the programs the building houses is the RN-BSN, or Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, which helps registered nurses get their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This program—the first of its kind for UHCL—began in Fall 2014.
“We offer the program in a manner that is rigorous in education and is meaningful but at the same time they come out better than they started,” said Karen Alexander, program director and assistant professor of nursing. “We try to make sure that because our program is focused on leadership and management that they leave here truly as a person … that is now prepared to face the grit of real leadership and management.”
As the nursing profession becomes more prevalent in the Houston area, UHCL saw a reason to bring the program to the school. There is a push nationwide to help 80 percent of registered nurses obtain their BSN by 2020, Alexander said.
“That was the drive to start this program and to make it seamless. That’s the issue because a lot of other nursing programs require so many other prerequisites before the student can start ... that kind of deters students from wanting to go further,” Alexander said.
Because of this, UHCL accepts students as long as they have an associate degree or diploma in nursing and a valid Texas nursing license.
UHCL specifically chose the Pearland campus as it provides a direct route to the Texas Medical Center, Alexander said.
“Pearland is central to the Medical Center; it is central to the Clear Lake area, it’s very accessible by the Beltway. It’s an excellent location to offer really any type of health science classes,” Alexander said.
The program has online as well as in-person classes, an option Alexander said is preferred for a lot of nursing students.
“Everyone always thinks that everyone wants online education but that is not necessarily true, especially for nurses, because nurses are people-people,” Alexander said.
Like other programs at UHCL, the program allows those who are already working as nurses to go back to get their degree, as the program is catered toward those who are already working and cannot go to school full time.
“All of our students are going to be nontraditional because they come here with a profession. They are nurses already,” Alexander said.
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