STC nursing program, no. 1 in state, sees growth through grant
STC’s nursing program recently received a grant to increase the number of staff, faculty and advisors for the program, in addition, to becoming the No. 1 nursing program in Texas among other community colleges to produce the highest number of graduates.
The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program at South Texas College has been a recipient of the Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction Program grant since 2011, but now, more than ever, the grant recently awarded is critical to meeting the needs of a nationwide critical nursing shortage.
The grant, in the amount of $865,445.95, has helped the program hire new nursing advisors, faculty and retention specialists, increasing the number of students who graduate from the program and making STC’s ADN program the No. 1 producer of nursing graduates in Texas among other community colleges.
Last year, STC’s ADN program graduated 266 students, over the 208 graduates they saw the year before, still, strict state laws regarding faculty to student ratios has contributed to the shortage.
“Our mission is to meet the health care needs of diverse regions and unfortunately, the Rio Grande Valley has suffered the most during this shortage,” said Jayson Valerio, Ph.D., STC dean of Nursing and Allied Health. “Receiving these grants has given us numerous opportunities to fill that gap.”
“Our mission is to meet the health care needs of diverse regions and unfortunately, the Rio Grande Valley has suffered the most during this shortage. Receiving these grants has given us numerous opportunities to fill that gap.”
Valerio added that by 2032, the nursing shortage is expected to reach an all-time high of 60,000 nurses.
“The problem right now is that there are more people wanting to be nurses, than there are available faculty and staff,” he said. “So, with this grant, being able to expand our team is beneficial to the number of students we can accept into our program.”
On average, a nursing application period at STC can receive upward of more than 300 applications and only 120 can be admitted, but with the addition of new faculty and staff thanks to the Nursing Shortage Reduction Grant, the number of people admitted is expected to increase in the coming years.
“Our program has seen much success and growth over the years and that’s because of our faculty and staff…I’m so grateful for them,” said Valerio. “They are committed to our students’ success and giving them what they need to become highly skilled, competent and compassionate nurses in the field. They are also our students’ advocates, always encouraging life-long learning.”
Fortunately, for nurses with associate degrees, STC also offers a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) that is completely online and takes approximately one year to complete.
“To continue to fill the shortage, we need to cater to our students and online allows them to work and continue their education at the same time,” he said. “We’re meeting educational needs and industry needs. It’s the best of both worlds.”
At least, 98% of all STC nursing graduates get hired locally and statewide, an impressive placement rate, that in addition to being the most affordable nursing program in the nation, makes STC nursing a sought-after program.
STC’s ADN program offers two application cycles – fall and spring, with this grant the goal is to add an additional cycle in the summer.
“There is definitely a lot of opportunity that this grant provides,” said Valerio. “We are excited for what’s to come for our program, our students, our community and our region. We’re bringing change to the landscape of health care.”
For more information on STC’s nursing and allied health programs, visit southtexascollege.edu.
Registration for fall 2022 is underway. The first day of class is August 22.