Photo courtesy TTUHSC El Paso
Eighty-three students who’ve completed the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Hunt School of Nursing will be recognized during a commencement and pinning ceremony this weekend.
During the ceremony, graduates will be presented with a nursing pin by a person of their choosing, usually a friend or family member. The time-honored tradition is a symbol of newly graduated nurses entering the nursing profession.
This year is especially noteworthy as Hunt School of Nursing students have earned their degree during a worldwide pandemic. As part of their education, they completed clinical rotations in local hospitals, caring for patients with COVID-19.
“I’ve never seen obstacles like the ones faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hunt School of Nursing Dean Stephanie L. Woods, R.N., Ph.D. “Our traditional students have balanced childcare, online learning, upheaval in clinical placements and reduced access to usual campus resources, like the library and Wi-Fi. Our R.N. to B.S.N. students have completed their program while being asked to work extra shifts during the pandemic. These graduates are overcomers. They’ve completed their programs while under great stress, and we could not be more proud of them. They’ve all played their part in caring for this community during the pandemic.”
This semester’s ceremony will be different from previous years due to the pandemic. The ceremony will be held in a 500-seat auditorium located in the university’s new Medical Sciences Building II, and students and their pinners will be socially distanced from their peers. Once each student and their pinner cross the stage, the pair will exit the auditorium to take official photographs and leave the ceremony.
“It’s so important to celebrate these graduates,” Dr. Woods said. “We want them to find joy in this moment, even with social distancing. We’ll livestream the presentation of diplomas, and the rest of the program has been recorded so students can return home and share with their family and friends.”
Dr. Woods will be the keynote speaker at Saturday’s commencement ceremony.
Students in the Accelerated B.S.N. program take up to 17 credit hours per semester for four successive semesters and complete 1,008 hours of required clinical rotations. The rigorous program allows students to graduate in 16 months after completing a curriculum designed for cross-disciplinary collaboration. This is the only accelerated nursing program in the region.
Students in the R.N. to B.S.N. program are already licensed nurses who have attended a community college and obtained an associate’s degree in nursing. To receive a bachelor’s degree, they complete 36 credit hours at the Hunt School of Nursing. Nurses with bachelor’s degrees have wider choices for employment and a great opportunity for promotion throughout their careers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse for the vital role they play in providing health services. TTUHSC El Paso joins the WHO in a yearlong effort to celebrate the work of nurses and highlight the challenging conditions they often face in the workforce.
In 2021, TTUHSC El Paso will celebrate the Hunt School of Nursing’s 10-year anniversary and its contributions to higher education and health care as it addresses the critical shortage of nurses in West Texas.
To date, the Hunt School of Nursing has graduated more than 800 students, with 90% of those graduates staying in the region. The school of nursing currently has partnerships with every hospital in the El Paso community, which includes both clinical rotation opportunities and job placements post-graduation.
Currently, 75% of students who have attended the Hunt School of Nursing are El Paso natives, reflecting TTUHSC El Paso’s mission to create more educational opportunities for Borderland residents.
The state of Texas is projected to face a shortfall of nearly 16,000 registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
What: Hunt School of Nursing commencement and pinning ceremony
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, December 19
Where: TTUHSC El Paso campus, Medical Sciences Building II, Room 103A, 5001 El Paso Drive
*The ceremony will be livestreamed via Facebook via this link.
*All in attendance are required to wear facemasks and follow social distancing guidelines.