Nursing professionals are consistently listed as one of the most respected and trusted professions in the country, however the profession is in the state of flux. The average age of a nurse is increasing and many from the baby boom generation of nurses are ready to retire. In recent years, the frequency and urgency of reports of nurse shortages have declined due to the recession, but with the recovering economy and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a renewed focus is being placed on types and availability of nursing programs. There is confusion surrounding the type of degree needed to practice professional nursing, and the path to becoming a registered nurse (RN) is not always clearly articulated. Education for initial licensure as a professional RN is provided through diploma programs, community/junior colleges offering the associate degree in Nursing (ADN), and higher education institutions offering the BSN.
The 2010 landmark report from the Institute of Medicine challenged the profession to increase the educational level of all nurses. Research shows that patients of nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree have better health outcomes. When caring for patients, BSN prepared nurses rely on advanced critical thinking and problem solving skills, increased medical knowledge, additional clinical practice, and the ability to accomplish multiple tasks and procedures. Nursing leaders and higher education institutions have responded to the call with formation of new program and collaborative efforts with community colleges. Over 50% of nurses now hold a BSN as their minimum degree in Texas and the nation as a whole.
The state of the nursing profession, combined with Texas State University's dedication "to excellence in serving the educational needs of the diverse population of Texas and the world beyond,” prompted its leaders to build the school of nursing to help increase the number of RNs with a BSN in Texas. Texas State currently offers a upper division BSN program and a Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Science in Nursing (FNP-MSN) track, with plans to add other educational nursing programs in the future. The future is looking bright for nursing at Texas State and we will continue to make a difference to the population we serve.