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UST Receives Texas Board of Nursing Approval

Fulfilling a dream 25 years in the making, the University of St. Thomas-Houston received approval from the Texas Board of Nursing on July 21st  to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). St. Thomas is currently enrolling pre-nursing students and will enroll the first class of nursing students in June 2012. 

Investing in Houston’s Workforce
The School of Nursing will help relieve today’s critical nursing shortage by offering increasingly essential Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. 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. This program will benefit the Houston community and the Texas Medical Center by educating exemplary nurses and nursing leaders.

“Caring for the sick complements the University of St. Thomas’ unique Catholic mission,” said UST President Dr. Robert Ivany. “As a faith-based institution located only minutes from the Texas Medical Center and other hospitals and clinics, we can provide the highly educated and inspired nurses who are in such great demand.”

Curriculum and Partners
UST has received Texas Board of Nursing accreditation for a nursing curriculum that emphasizes the care of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. The School of Nursing will focus on patient-centered nursing using a newly developed curriculum based on a construct of healing and holistic care. The School of Nursing will build on the mission of the University of St. Thomas and its founders, the Basilian Fathers, and is nourished by the historic traditions of Catholic nursing education and service.

Plans for the School of Nursing carefully integrate input from St. Thomas faculty, professional nursing consultants, nursing alumni and the medical community. St. Thomas nursing and pre-med students will gain practical experience through community-based service learning and clinical training at St. Joseph Medical Center, Christus St. Catherine Hospital, the San Jose Clinic, the Harris County Hospital District and other health care organizations.

The School of Nursing will also be an integral part of the planned Center for Science and Health Professions, which is the primary focus of UST’s capital campaign. Once constructed, the facility’s design allows enough adaptability to serve students and faculty for many years and offers enormous potential for the education of successive generations of UST students.

Continuing the Legacy of Healing 
The University of St. Thomas has an outstanding nursing history and legacy of healing, much of which is owed to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The Sisters founded Texas’ first Catholic hospital in Galveston in 1867. The first training school for nurses in Houston was established by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in Houston under the administration of St. Joseph Hospital (1905 – 1948).  It was transitioned to Sacred Heart Dominican College (1948 – 1972) to become the first baccalaureate nursing program in Houston.  Then in 1972, the school moved to the University of St. Thomas, where the BSN curriculum was offered until 1986.

The Associated Nursing Alumni of St. Joseph, Dominican College and the University of St. Thomas have awaited the reopening of the School of Nursing since the school’s closing in 1986. For the past 25 years, these dedicated alumni have collected donations and invested wisely in hopes of creating an endowed chair in honor of former School of Nursing leader, the late Sister Mary Martina Casey, CCVI.  The group achieved their long-standing goal and contributed $1 million in February, and they are working to fully endow the $2 million chair.

The University’s fundraising campaign has raised nearly $14 million for program development, operating expenses, endowed faculty chairs and a state-of-the-art Clinical Simulation Center.  Five endowed chairs have also been established.  Fully endowed chairs include the Cullen Trust for Health Care Nursing Endowed Chair, the Cullen Trust for Higher Education, the Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Endowed Chair and a chair in honor of Carol and Odis Peavy, whose $2.5 million gift set in motion the plans to reopen the School of Nursing. The federal government also awarded UST a $3.25 million grant, which will fund a state-of-the-art simulation laboratory and a Nursing Success Center which will provide targeted academic support to nursing students.  

Nursing Admission
The University of St. Thomas will offer pre-nursing courses in the fall of 2011, which will prepare students for entry into UST’s nursing program. Students must be accepted into the University to be eligible for admission to the nursing program. A student may be able to enter as an incoming freshman if highly selective admission criteria for high school seniors are met, as a current St. Thomas student or transfer student. Admission to the School of Nursing will require an additional application process.

The University of St. Thomas is committed to making a private education affordable and accessible to all students. The Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid partners with students  and their families to explore all types of financial assistance including University scholarships, grants, student loans and flexible payment plans. Federal and University scholarships for nursing students will be available.

For admission criteria and how to apply and more information about the School of Nursing, visit or contact the Office of Admissions at 713-525-3500. To learn about more ways to support the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing, contact Debbye Crofoot-Morley, Director of Development at 713-525-3109.