College graduates who already have a bachelor’s degree
but would like a career in nursing have a new option at
Midwestern State University. Beginning this summer, a
graduate can earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree
through a 15-month program that accomplishes two goals –
helping a graduate to a new career and reducing a shortage of
health-care workers.
Karen Polvado, Chair of the Wilson School of Nursing, came
up with the idea for an accelerated second-degree program
two years ago when Wichita Falls Independent School District
teachers were faced with losing their jobs due to budget cuts.
She met with a group of teachers and the Texas Workforce
Commission and together they surveyed the teachers
for their interest in a nursing degree. “The response was
overwhelmingly positive,” Polvado said.
The plan is targeted for those who already have a non-nursing
degree, but because of unemployment or personal choice
decide to be a nurse. Polvado said that some who lose their
jobs are eligible for financial aid to retrain them for another
field, but the program only covers the cost for a maximum of
two years. The accelerated nursing degree falls under the two-
year time frame with its 15-month plan. Students begin in the
first summer semester and finish the following summer. “We
already have students in the pipeline to begin this summer,”
Polvado said.
A nursing shortage combined with growing demand in the
health-care sector will offer unique opportunities for those
who may now be unemployed. A key finding of the report,
Texas Nursing: Our Future Depends on It
a strategic plan
developed by Texas Team: Addressing Nursing Education
Capacity, states that between 2005 and 2020, the demand for
registered nurses in Texas is expected to increase 86 percent, but
the supply by only 53 percent.
Dr. James Johnston, Dean of the College of Health Sciences
and Human Services (CHSHS), said that Polvado has created
an innovative program model that maximizes the university’s
resources and limited clinical space.
The progressive vision of Dr. Polvado
and her faculty will allow Midwestern State
University to accommodate more aspiring
nursing students each year and graduate more
nurses to meet the health-care demands of
Texas and the U.S.” —
James Johnston
Most of the program’s cost will be funded by the $5 million gift
to the CHSHS from Carol and Bob Gunn last November. The
MSU Board of Regents approved the plan in a special meeting
in December, and it is being reviewed for approval by the Texas
Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Board
of Nursing.
A Fast Track to
a New Degree
Nursing program adds
accelerated degree plan