In 1942, on the land we now know as LeTourneau University's residential campus in Longview, Texas, Harmon Army General Hospital opened to provide care for wounded WWII veterans.
This heritage of compassionate healthcare continues this fall as the 2014-2015 academic year begins, with the inception of LETU's School of Nursing.
Heading up the program is Dr. Kimberly Quiett, Dean of the School of Nursing, who has 24 years of nursing experience, 13 of which in nursing education. She explains why LETU's program is unique:
"The fact that we are integrating faith in our curriculum sets us apart," she said. "We also have small class sizes. Our nursing student to faculty ratio is 5:1. That's opposed to other nursing schools that often involve class sizes of 100 or more."
This ratio makes a significant difference when a student's career goal involves public health. It's widely known that smaller classes provide superior learning environments.
|Jennifer Bray, R.N. instructs in LETU's new nursing lab.|
"I am very excited about the nursing program here at LeTourneau," said junior nursing student Hannah Campbell, of Ben Wheeler, Texas.
"The faculty are fantastic," she said. "They each bring a unique background and personality to our classes and help us master the material and learn to apply it from various perspectives. LeTourneau University's nursing program is truly preparing us to be skilled and competent in our field no matter where nursing may take us."
With an entire building devoted to their program, the school's brand-new, state-of-the-art facilities provide ample opportunity for hands-on learning. Equipment includes six adult, two children, and two infant mid-fidelity simulators, intravenous arms, a CPR simulator, a Chester Chest, and a lab set up to imitate an intensive care unit.
The practical learning doesn't stop there. Clinical training is an integral part of the Nursing School experience. LETU's nursing program has over 20 clinical affiliation practices in the East Texas area in a variety of settings, including acute care, assisted living, chronic children's care, and community and acute care psychiatric facilities.
Not only that, but faculty member Jennifer Bray's experience includes seven years an an R.N. at Good Shepherd Medical Center, where she placed nursing students for clinical training.
"She really understands what students need in the clinical setting," Quiett said.
Students benefit from hands-on learning
and small class sizes.
Nursing is an extremely unique profession; it's meaningful, as well as in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19% over the next decade. As the baby-boomer generation heads into retirement, now, more than ever, nurses are needed and being hired across the country.
"There's an ongoing nursing shortage in the U.S.," Quiett said. "Bottom line - nurses get jobs."
"Nurses are especially sought-after by mission organizations, especially to work internationally," she added. "This is the career goal of several of our freshmen students."
They'll begin to realize their dreams in May when a group of nursing students will travel with Buckner International to serve in Guatemala.
Sixty-eight years have passed since nurses roamed the halls of Harmon Army General Hospital, now LeTourneau University. No doubt; within only a few years, a growing number of LETU nurses will continue to make a difference domestically and across the globe, carrying with them both the knowledge and heart that characterize LeTourneau graduates.