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$2 million gift to establish M.S. in Nursing program at Texas State

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
February 4, 2013

ROUND ROCK – The St. David's Foundation has approved a $2 million grant to Texas State University to help establish a Master of Science in Nursing program at the St. David's School of Nursing.

The gift was announced Monday, Feb. 4, at a news conference at the Texas State Round Rock campus and is contingent on the university receiving approval from the Texas Board of Nursing and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The M.S. in Nursing program has already received approval from The Texas State University System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

"Texas State and the St. David’s Foundation share a common commitment to improving the health and well-being of the people who live in Central Texas," said Texas State University President Denise Trauth." As the school of nursing was founded to help address the shortage of nurses in Texas, this new Master of Science in Nursing program will help us address one of our state’s most critical issues — a dearth of healthcare providers."

The national average for the ratio of primary care physicians per 100,000 people is 121. With 95.6 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, Texas currently ranks 42nd in the nation and would need an additional 6,387 primary care physicians just to reach the national average, said Marla Erbin-Roesemann, director of the St. David's School of Nursing at Texas State. With one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations, this demand is only going to increase over the coming years, she added.

To help address the shortage, the state could produce more nurse practitioners (NPs), who can carry out many of the responsibilities of a primary care physician. Nationally, NPs fulfill an estimated 25 percent of all primary care roles, with this proportion expected to increase to compensate for primary care physician shortage. Texas graduated only 667 NPs in 2010, numbers too low to even maintain the 25 percent level of the care-giver population.

“It has been a labor of love for all of us at St. David’s Foundation to work closely with the good folks at Texas State University for the past few years in establishing the St. David’s School of Nursing at the Texas State Round Rock campus,” said Earl Maxwell, CEO of St. David’s Foundation.

“So it was an easy decision on the part of our Board to invest $2 million to fund a graduate nursing program at Texas State,” Maxwell added. “With this grant, nurses will receive the education and training to become nurse practitioners, thereby helping to provide important primary care for thousands of Central Texans.

“We see this as a tremendous partnership that allows our organizations to work together to markedly improve healthcare in our community.”

The Master of Science in Nursing will be a 21-month, five-semester program in which registered nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees will advance their skills to the entry level for certification as an NP. The program is projected to graduate 38 nurses per year when fully implemented.

"It is an exciting time for us, as this demonstrates the maturation of health education at the St. David’s School of Nursing," said Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions at Texas State.
The College of Health Professions recently hired Dr. Shirley Levenson to direct the MSN program. Within the past 10 years, the College built a new nursing building, enrolled and graduated its first nursing class, and earned five-year accreditation.

"Today, we are moving forward with a School of Nursing that has taken a campus community working together to reach this point,” Welborn added.

About the St. David's School of Nursing at Texas State

Enrolling its first class in 2010, the St. David's School of Nursing at Texas State University educates and prepares graduates using innovative teaching strategies and state-of-the-art technology. Located on the Texas State campus in Round Rock, the school is housed in a three-story, 79,000-square-foot nursing building equipped with the latest technology infrastructure and teaching advancements. The building's design is based on the latest research in both education and nursing, and incorporates on-site and online educational capabilities.

Other Nursing Building features:

  • Critical care, medical, surgical, obstetric, home care and outpatient clinics are all represented in the modern simulation labs equipped with the latest healthcare and computer technology.
  • A full range of manikins representing all age groups, equipped with the latest high-fidelity, computerized and interactive features, and capable of running care scenarios and responding to care provided by the students, add to the real-world environment of the labs.
  • The entire building and outdoor gathering spaces support a wireless environment, including laptops, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and student response systems.
  • Spacious and comfortable gathering and study areas encourage student and faculty inspiration and collaboration, while meeting spaces promote community and interdisciplinary support.

The Round Rock Campus is located at 1555 University Boulevard in Round Rock. For more information, contact University News Service at (512) 245-2180.

About St. David’s Foundation

As a joint owner of St. David’s Healthcare, St. David’s Foundation invests its proceeds from the hospitals directly back into the community to improve health and healthcare for all Central Texans. In 2013, the Foundation is projected to invest $46 million in the community through grants to mental health agencies, safety net clinics, agencies serving older adults, support for healthy living initiatives, the St. David’s Dental Program, scholarships for students pursuing a healthcare career, and to fund healthcare education and research. For more information on St. David’s Foundation, visit