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UST Nursing School Reopens Summer 2012

UST Nursing School Reopens Summer 2012The University of St. Thomas will officially reopen the School of Nursing in Summer 2012 with approval from the regional accrediting body. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced Nov. 7 that the program meets accreditation requirements. The accreditation follows the July 21 Texas Board of Nursing’s approval, allowing the University to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

The BSN program is a four-year academic program that incorporates the University of St. Thomas core curriculum, pre-nursing courses and courses in the nursing major.

Dr. Poldi Tschirch, director of Nursing Program Development, said the SACS approval is the final step in the approval process for the nursing program. “We are in the process of admitting students to the program, and we will offer the first nursing courses as of summer 2012.”

Dr. Dominic Aquila, vice president for Academic Affairs, said the accreditation process is rigorous and underscores the excellence of our Nursing Program.

Many faculty and administrators have worked tirelessly to fashion an education for nurses with the highest professional standards, which integrates UST’s Catholic mission and values into the program in substantive and innovative ways,” Aquila said. “I commend and celebrate Dr. Poldi Tschirch’s leadership and skill in making the Nursing Program a reality for the University of St. Thomas.”

The announcement comes 25 years after the University was forced to close Houston’s only Catholic nursing school for financial reasons. Now, with support from the healthcare community, alumni and students, UST has raised roughly $14 million for the new program.  There are also plans to build a Center for Science and Health Professions to house classrooms and offices for the nursing and science programs. 

Dr. Tschirch said a core pillar of the nursing curriculum is the view of nursing as a healing ministry, with a focus on patient-centered nursing.

“It’s a manifestation of our service to others,” Dr. Tschirch said. “We are going to build on a holistic nursing framework of care for body, mind and spirit. We are uniquely able to help students explore those dimensions.”

As the only Catholic nursing program based in Houston, the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing will serve as a critical asset to the nursing workforce and well-being of the community. The program will prepare graduates for initial RN licensure and entry into practice as a professional nurse and provide a foundation for graduate study in nursing.

Students must be accepted into the University to be eligible for admission to the nursing program. Students must apply for admission to the nursing major, which is offered in junior and senior years. Federal and University scholarships for nursing students will be available.

“We appreciate all of the support that we have received during the program development process and look forward to beginning our work with nursing students,” Dr. Tschirch said.

For more information about a degree in nursing, visit or contact Lesley Paulsen at 713-525-2163 or