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Tschirch Receives Texas Nurses Association Award for New Program

Tschirch Receives Texas Nurses Association Award for New ProgramDr. Poldi Tschirch, RN, BC, UST’s director of Nursing Program Development, received the 2011 President’s Award from the Texas Nurses Association, District 9 on Nov. 10. The TNA District 9 Board of Directors annually recognizes a Houston area individual who has provided exemplary support to nurses in our community with the award.

In the award letter, TNA District 9 President Dana Bjarnason said the board especially wanted to recognize Tschirch’s accomplishments in re-establishing a baccalaureate nursing program at the University of St. Thomas, 25 years after the program closed.

Since 2009, Tschirch has been responsible for assisting the University in re-establishing the School of Nursing on campus by laying the foundations for nursing curriculum, policies, admission structures and mandatory accreditation by the Texas Board of Nursing. She also supports fundraising for a nursing school endowment and for a new Center for Science and Health Professions building, which will include facilities for the School of Nursing.

Tschirch said the award is an affirmation of UST and all the people who have worked to re-open the school.

“I feel that it recognizes the legacy of the Catholic nursing schools that have come before us and the contribution that the School of Nursing at UST will make to our community,” Tschirch said. “This is such a wonderful way for the nursing community of Houston to welcome the re-opening of our school.”

Dr. Dominic Aquila, vice president for academic affairs, said Tschirch is deserving of the award.

“The University of St. Thomas is grateful to the Texas Nursing Association District 9 for recognizing Poldi’s outstanding leadership in reestablishing UST’s undergraduate nursing program,” Aquila said. “My colleagues and I are proud of Poldi’s achievement and celebrate this important recognition by the Houston nursing community.”

The award was presented at the 21st Annual Nursing Celebration, where 20 Houston area nurses were also honored.

Four UST supporters were recognized with awards for Outstanding Nurse: Dr. Phyllis Waters, UST visiting professor of nursing and Director of Nursing Practice for Harris County Hospital District Nursing Services, who served on the original UST nursing commission and facilitated the UST Clinical Nursing Education Commission; Sharon Land, Administrative Director for Perioperative Services at Harris County Hospital District, a partner in developing UST’s clinical teaching program; Barbara Lazor, chief nurse for CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital, who served as a member of UST’s Clinical Nursing Education Commission; and Kathleen Cross of CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital, who supports UST’s collaboration with the hospital. The Outstanding Nurses were nominated by their peers as exemplary registered nurses in the Houston area.

The UST Nursing School is expected to open in Summer 2012.

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