The 30-year-old School of Nursing is a powerhouse of educational innovation, research, patient care and community service serving not only San Antonio, but the entire state of Texas.
When Martha Martinez, M.S.N., R.N., drives in a mobile health van to 10 different colonias along rural Highway 359 near Laredo, and helps examine 250 indigent patients each month, many of them expectant mothers, the School of Nursing in San Antonio is there. Martinez earned her M.S.N. from the Health Science Center in 1992.
When Judy Moczygemba, B.S.N., R.N., coordinates Phase I and II anticancer drug trials at San Antonio's Cancer Therapy & Research Center, the School of Nursing is there. Moczygemba earned her B.S.N. from the university in 1986.
When faculty researcher Mary Ann Matteson, Ph.D., applies her new research findings to designing more effective care for Alzheimer's patients at a San Antonio nursing home, the School of Nursing is there. And when colleges and universities throughout Texas have needed to add nursing education to their course offerings in recent years, the School of Nursing has been there to show them how to create new state-of-the-art programs designed to serve the growing needs of the state.
The largest nursing school among The University of Texas System's nine
nursing programs, the San Antonio school is celebrating 30 years of
nursing education in 1999. Completing its "30 Days and 30
to Celebrate!" this spring, the school has taken the opportunity
to honor alumni and donors who have helped the school to become
one of the top 50 graduate nursing programs in the nation, as judged
by its peers. The designation was heralded in 1998 by U.S. News and World Report.
A remarkable history has seen the school grow from its 1969 inception
with four faculty members, to a national leader offering baccalaureate,
master's and doctoral education. In its relatively brief history, the
school has been recognized for its teaching, research, patient care
and service, and has helped inaugurate new nursing programs throughout
the state, including:
- the first Ph.D. program in nursing west of Austin, in collaboration with the Texas
- Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock;
- the first B.S.N. nursing education in Del Rio, in concert
with Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College; and
- outreach programs in Corpus Christi, Brownsville and Laredo.
"We just awarded our 6,000th degree in December," said School of Nursing Dean Janet D. Allan, Ph.D., R.N., C.S., FAAN. "And 60 percent of our F.N.P. [family nurse practitioner] graduates are working in regions of Texas that are underserved by nurses and other health professionals. The need for nurses is tremendous in South Texas, and the existing infrastructure is really stretched in some areas. The nursing shortage triples during colder months when ‘winter Texans' migrate to the area and, in some cases, plan their surgeries or other medical procedures to occur while they are visiting."
Dr. Allan, who assumed the deanship in 1997, pointed to the nursing school's numerous strengths as she outlined plans for the future. "Our distance education and outreach are important areas that we will continue to develop," she said. "As part of that effort, Web-based instruction will be expanded and should help us to offer more courses to remote sites and to accommodate our ‘working' student body. For example, students in Del Rio could take a lecture-style elective on the Web without having to leave their computer terminals.
"Also, we are remodeling the undergraduate curriculum to put more emphasis on Web-based courses and other technology. Technology by itself doesn't save patients or reduce the need for nursing expertise," she added. "Combined with other factors, it actually increases the need for highly educated and skilled nurses, while providing better monitoring and diagnostic capabilities. The result is improved and much more responsive health care for patients."
Other strengths include the school's model track record of partnerships throughout the state, innovative research activities and graduate training of advance practice nurses, including pediatric and adult clinical specialists and family nurse practitioners. All of these activities will continue to increase, according to the dean.
"Research in areas such as behavioral management of persons with Alzheimer's disease; maternal and child health, including breast feeding and the growing problem of obesity in children; exercise interventions for overweight adults; and other areas will expand," she reported. Also, some faculty are interested in the problem of domestic violence and plan to join with others, such as Ronald M. Stewart, M.D., at the Health Science Center in the creation of a new injury prevention center to address that concern. Dr. Stewart is an assistant professor in the Medical School's Department of Surgery.
As the School of Nursing marks its 30th anniversary this spring,
its faculty, students and staff deservedly celebrate their
achievements in meeting the health care and health education needs
of San Antonio and South Texas. Capping the whirlwind celebration,
including a float in the Texas Cavalier's River Parade during San
Antonio's annual Fiesta in April and many other events, will be a
May 21 continuing education course with a mock trial, followed by a
gala dinner at the Doubletree Hotel honoring alumni, donors and
former deans. Information about the festivities and other School
of Nursing news is available by calling (210) 567-5850, or accessing