UMHB Offers New Nurse Practitioner Program with Acute Care Focus


By: James Stafford, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor

The Scott & White College of Nursing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has announced the launch of an Adult - Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) program, which will equip graduates with the skills to practice in high pressure areas within acute care settings.

The program comes in response to representatives of the Baylor Scott & White Healthcare team reaching out to the university about developing specialized training for acute care settings.

“It’s truly coming from the need in the community,” said Janice Walker, Chief Nurse Executive for Baylor Scott & White’s Central Texas Division. “We have a lot of critical care transfer patients who have suffered traumas, strokes, or heart attacks, and we need to provide top-quality care for those patients.”

Officials from Baylor Scott & White contacted the university after noticing a need for advanced practice nurses with special training in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and other settings. Baylor Scott & White’s Memorial Hospital in Temple currently has 75 acute or critical care beds.

“It takes an army to care for that many patients,” Walker said. “You can do that with advanced practice providers, especially if they have some extra mentoring and certifications in critical care.”

“Our physician partners at Scott & White came to the administration and said, ‘Can we partner and develop a program at Mary Hardin-Baylor where we take Nurse Practitioners and develop a fellowship where we give them more mentoring, more education, more hours in our critical care?’”

Walker believes that the new program’s focus on critical care will make graduates better suited to work as advanced practice extensions to physicians in those arenas.

“They could do pre-round checks before the doctors on those critical care patients. They could write orders,” Walker said. “They could really help them manage the cases.”

As part of its partnership with UMHB in developing the master’s degree in Adult - Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Baylor Scott & White has committed to offering preceptorships to students enrolled in the program.

“We’ve hand-picked clinical sites, making them a mixture of critical care settings, cardiac step-down units, and emergency rooms,” Walker said.

“We’re really excited,” said Dr. Sharon Souter, dean of the Scott & White College of Nursing. “The physicians have agreed to come to campus and do some lecturing and help our students acquire skills, practicing them in our simulation hospital and clinical labs.”

The new program will be offered in two forms: a dedicated Master of Science degree program and a post-master’s certificate for nurses who have already earned their MSN degrees. As with all the university’s graduate-level nursing degrees, the AG-ACNP program will be delivered in a hybrid format. This means that students complete most of their coursework online and only spend one Friday and Saturday a month in the classroom.

Classes for the program will begin in fall 2018, and nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees can apply for the program now. Preference will be given to those prospective students who have experience working in some type of critical care setting.

“Most of my graduates would work in an E.R. or an acute care facility if they could,” Souter said. “This program provides new opportunities for our students to become the type of care providers they may want to be.”

For more information about the Adult - Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AG-ACNP) degree or post-master’s certificate, nurses are encouraged to call the Scott & White College of Nursing at 254-295-4662.

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