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Baxter Trust Gives $75,000 for Nursing Preceptor Program
The Baxter Trust has awarded a $75,000 grant for the planned University of St. Thomas School of Nursing to train nursing preceptors who will support nursing students as they engage in clinical learning inpatient care settings.

Nurse preceptors are expert clinical nurses employed by the host hospital or healthcare organization who work one-on-one with nursing students to assist them in developing clinical nursing skills. As the nurse preceptor provides care to patients, students have the opportunity to observe, participate and learn from expert role models. The University of St. Thomas will develop a program, under the direction of an expert nurse educator, to prepare nurse preceptors for their roles in facilitating clinical learning and will include training on how to instruct, coach and evaluate.

To implement this program, the University will partner with the Harris County Hospital District The nursing leadership at Harris County Hospital District has supported development of the UST nursing program from the outset. The University of St. Thomas Office for Nursing Program Development and Harris County Hospital District Nursing Services have agreed to create a community of practice partnership. Central to this partnership is a shared view of nursing and a high level of organizational mission congruence. Both partners are committed to an evidence-based approach to clinical problem-solving and a patient-centered approach to care practices.

The University of St. Thomas is a faith-based educational institution that advocates nursing as a healing ministry. Harris County Hospital District is a community-owned health care system committed to compassionate care for all people, with a stated nursing mission of “providing high quality health care and healing services.” The community of practice partnership will provide students a sense of belonging to a professional community that is committed to their development as nurses.

“Caring for the community and care for the most vulnerable will be critical elements of the UST nursing student experience,” said Nursing Development Director Dr. Poldi Tschirch. Excellent clinical training, in settings where students are guided by HCHD nurses who are role models in providing care to the underserved, will prepare UST nursing graduates well for service to our community”
The nurse preceptor education the program will consist of six online modules and two classroom-based workshops. Preceptors will be selected to work with students in the four clinical courses to be offered in the first year of the nursing program. They will be guided by nurse faculty as they work with nursing students in clinical rotations at Harris County Hospital District patient care settings. Once the preceptor education program has been piloted and evaluated, the program can be used in future with other partner organizations.

The Baxter Trust was established by the late Murphy H. Baxter and Betty Jane Baxter of Houston. The Trust is organized for charitable, religious, scientific, literary and educational purposes to provide people with opportunities to improve themselves or their station in life.

For more information about the planned School of Nursing, visit For more information about the Nursing Preceptor Program, contact Dr. Poldi Tschirch at 713-525-6991.

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