The program offers students a cheaper and faster route to pursue a nursing degree, said Catherine Gray, director of nursing at LSC-Tomball, as KISD students can earn a high school diploma and an Associate of Arts degree in general studies at the same time. Additionally, students graduate from high school ready to take the certified nursing assistant exam. Seventeen students enrolled in the program in 2017-18, she said.
The program plans to admit 20 students in the fall cohort.
“It has been a learning process for both the students and the facility,” Gray said.
According to an April statement from LSC-Tomball, the nursing pathway program is the first of its kind in Texas.
“I’m really excited about this program,” LSC-Tomball President Lee Ann Nutt said in the statement. “The success of this program will likely be the model for nursing pathway programs for [Texas].”
Students take one introductory nursing class during their sophomore year and then complete coursework the following two years at the LSC-Tomball Health Science Building, receiving their clinical learning experience at partnering hospitals, Gray said.
After graduating from high school, students can take the CNA licensing exam and enroll in LSC-Tomball’s vocational nursing program, Gray said.
“For a student who wants to become a nurse, this program guarantees them a seat—as long as they keep their grades up—in a nursing program, which is extremely competitive,” she said.
Within a year of becoming a licensed vocational nurse, a student can complete the Associate Nursing Degree Transition Program, earn an associate degree in applied science and sit for the registered nursing exam, Gray said. A student may then pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing.
Gray said the KISD program allows students the opportunity to experience the life of a nurse before they fully commit.
“The only thing I did harder than nursing school was boot camp in the Navy,” she said. “[It] takes the desire and heart.”