Past, Present, and Future
“Partnerships with hospital systems provide students the chance to interface with the hospital leadership.”
–Dr. Rhonda Schumann
Houston Baptist University’s School of Nursing & Allied Health (SNAH) has a rich past with links to the present and the future. It started with the Memorial School of Nursing in what was then downtown Houston. Many young nurses, under the direction of Mrs. Lilly Jolly, learned to give the best patient care that any nursing school could offer, and they delivered that care with grace, compassion, and a sense of purpose that is understood and experienced by so few in any field. Mrs. Jolly’s legacy lives on to this day as students and graduates from the School of Nursing and Allied Health continue to provide the same compassionate, purposeful care as their predecessors.
Lilly Jolly, who was the first dean of the Memorial School of Nursing, took the school from its downtown hospital setting to another location in southwest Houston. Eventually, the Memorial School of Nursing became the Lilly Jolly School of Nursing. The Lilly Jolly School became part of the HBU campus, and then renamed the HBU College of Nursing, and later, the School of Nursing & Allied Health. Though Mrs. Jolly had long since retired, the College held true to her standards and demanded excellence in nursing and personal practice. The College of Nursing graduated students who were well respected in the field. Today’s students and graduates from HBU’s School of Nursing and Allied Health celebrate their link to the school’s beginnings. The Allied Health part of the school, which houses three kinesiology degrees, joined the nursing school nearly 10 years ago to create the School of Nursing and Allied Health. Since the development of the recently established Deans Developmental Council (DDC), nursing and kinesiology students have enjoyed collaboration through programs sponsored by the DDC, and with each passing semester the contribution of the DDC to the SNAH students grows. In 2015, the DDC sponsored a Lunch and Learn event directed at all SNAH students where they received a free lunch and learned about scheduling and caring for patients in Sport Medicine Clinics. Contributions from the DDC have included an annual fund-raising luncheon, faculty breakfasts and get together during final exam week, a pre-nursing orientation brunch for incoming freshman students during Welcome Days, refreshments for the nursing pinning ceremonies, and most recently the donation of the HBU nursing pin to each graduate. There is a grand vision for the SNAH, one which could not be accomplished without the help of the Deans Developmental Council. The vision for the School includes growth in program development and enrollment through Interprofessional Education (IPE), technology, and community partnerships. When possible, the School of Nursing and Allied Health will share resources including simulation labs in the Cullen Nursing Center and in the Bradshaw Fitness Center, laptop computers purchased by the School of Nursing from the Hamill Foundation grant to be used for testing, and faculty when appropriate.
The School of Nursing and Allied Health currently offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree with four separate curriculum modalities, and three separate Bachelor of Science-Kinesiology degrees.
The School of Nursing boasts small classes where faculty and students know each other, and students can benefit from the personal touch. Faculty learn students’ strengths and needs, and they can work with each student towards developing strengths where needed. Nurses in the partnering clinical agencies value HBU students and graduates, and they pursue HBU graduates for employment, often before graduation. In fact, it is not unusual for 90 percent or greater of the graduating class to have multiple job offers before graduation.
Honors and Athletics
Within the traditional pre-licensure student group are two specialized groups which were difficult to manage – those enrolled in the HBU Honors College, and student athletes. Nursing schools that have an honors program develop it for nursing only, and keep it separate from the university college or other groups because nursing scheduling and course work is difficult to accommodate. There is nothing in the current literature which demonstrates inclusion of the nursing students within a university-level Honors College. However, in 2013 the SONAH entered into a one-of-a-kind joint admission program with the HBU Honors College, in which highly motivated freshmen who are interested in nursing may be admitted into the Honors College and receive provisional admission to the BSN program combining the classics Honors College and the nursing courses. The BSN Honors degree is growing in popularity each year, and students are entering the nursing curriculum earlier as a result. The BSN Honors degree produces a better educated nurse who demonstrates strong critical thinking skills and unconditional, universal compassion and acceptance for others. An addition to the Honors College students is a specialized group of nursing student athletes with the challenges of meeting NCAA guidelines, and HBU’s regulations for athletes, combined with the rules and content of the very strenuous BSN program. In the past, most student athletes have been forced to choose between sport and nursing because practice and travel schedules are often incompatible with lab and clinical schedules. Now, student athletes are admitted to the nursing program according to the season of their sport to avoid the major conflicts with travel time versus the class schedules. By using this plan, more students are able to achieve both athletic and academic goals.
In 2015, the faculty launched a separate modality for achieving a BSN degree. With the help of an enrollment management partner, Meteor Learning, the 100 percent online, competency-based RN-BSN program, where students complete the BSN degree at their own pace from their own homes. The program, which has been open less than a year, already has more than 50 students enrolled, with the first graduates expected in December of 2016.
Kinesiology, the study of human movement, is the “prevention” side of healthcare. The School of Nursing and Allied Health houses three separate Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology degrees. Wellness Management, which has the greatest enrollment of the three, prepares graduates to work in areas of fitness, wellness, and health promotion. Many Wellness Management graduates pursue further education, specifically in the field of Physical Therapy. Athletic Training is a current BS degree within the SNAH. Athletic trainers work with clients who work with the sports teams. They teach proper body mechanics and assess and treat injuries associated with movement. Athletic trainers can work with other groups besides sports teams to make sure that everyone is moving safely. Th is year the School will launch a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Management, which is a combination of kinesiology wellness management and business courses. Graduates will be prepared to conduct the business of operating a gym or fitness center as well as managing intramural or similar teams.
Students enjoy the benefit of partnership agreements with various clinical agencies, schools and employers, and groups. Affiliation agreements with hospitals and articulation agreements with junior colleges keep the SNAH active and in communication with stakeholders, donors, the Texas Medical Center, and the greater community. In addition to providing student placements for nursing, clinical, and kinesiology internship practical experiences, partnerships provide opportunities for student scholarships and collaborations between faculty and agency staff which would have not been possible otherwise. Collaborations between schools and clinical agencies or employers help college faculty stay current and relevant in their practice while informing agencies of the most effective teaching strategies or curriculum development plans for staff. Partnerships with hospital systems provide students the chance to interface with the hospital leadership. Likewise, the partnering hospitals or other agencies can meet the students at the beginning of the educational program and possibly hire them as the student approaches graduation. Partnerships in kinesiology include not only hospitals and clinics, but any setting where a health or safety program is required. Partnerships allow the employers and the students to learn about each other and to see the best fit.
New degrees and Programs Tracks
Needs for specialty services contribute to the growth of the SNAH. The nursing faculty have plans to enhance the program through degree offerings and modifications.
• First is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) which will be online, except for clinical or practicum components. The MSN, which is scheduled to launch in 2017, will have four separate tracks and one certificate program, including Nursing Education, Nursing Administration, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (Primary Care), then a post masters certificate, Pediatric Nurse Practitioners in Acute Care setting.
• Also in future planning is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, designed for nurses who are Nurse Practitioners and would like the expertise in management of more complicated patients within complex healthcare systems. As with the MSN, the DNP will originally launch as a post MSN entry, then eventually transition to BSN to DNP, and maybe RN-DNP to gather the students in the completion program.
• In Spring 2017 an online Master of Science in Kinesiology with a specialty in Sport Management is scheduled to start. Students will learn the more advanced business and sport management skills to apply to teams, schools, and other employers.
• The current BS in Athletic Training has suspended enrollment as of Spring 2016 so that it can reopen as an entrylevel (no BS required before it) Master of Science-Kinesiology in Athletic Training. This move is required by the governing and accrediting bodies of the athletic training profession, and as a result, the program will be able to gain accreditation in the future. As the athletic trainer scope of practice expands, so will the need for continued education. Therefore, the future SNAH also holds development of a Doctor of Athletic Training degree, whose developers have patterned it after the nursing DNP.
• Other innovations in the SNAH programs include development of a degree specific honors research program where the student partners with a faculty research mentor not only to assist the faculty with research, but also to develop and implement his or her own piece of that research. This can contribute to students’ interest in graduate school and in life-long learning, which is a value of the nursing and athletic training accreditors. The SNAH honors program can be in cooperation with, or separate from, the HBU Honors College.
• Certification programs offered by the SNAH are being discussed or developed, including EKG Technician, Legal Nurse Consultant, and Nursing Leadership. The Kinesiology program currently requires Wellness Management and Athletic Training students to pass a Coaches Exam for progression to the next level.
Thoughts on Shared Activities
The Deans Developmental Council for the SNAH will assist with raising the funds to update the nursing and kinesiology simulation labs, especially as additional equipment will be required for the respective master’s degrees. Shared activities with other University colleges and students as well as the HBU community, include disaster drills where other students or faculty serve as patients, and inner city mission trips where SNAH students can perform basic assessments in area neighborhoods or centers. Both of these, as well similar events planned and implemented by the Nursing Student Association and Kinesiology Student Association, contribute to community wellness while making HBU more visible in the community and increasing students’ skills and abilities.
By Dr. Rhonda (Renae) Schumann
Dean, School of Nursing and Allied Health
John S. Dunn Professorship in Nursing
Professor of Nursing