VC announces innovative plans, UHV partnership to address regional nursing shortage

Nursing Graduates VC Nursing Graduates - Class of 2023

Victoria College officials recently announced that new plans are underway to help address the regional nursing shortage, including a new hybrid track within VC’s Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Program and a partnership with the University of Houston-Victoria that will allow students to complete the ADN Program and UHV’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program simultaneously.

Both initiatives are aimed at providing greater flexibility and accessibility to students pursuing nursing careers while meeting the demand for highly skilled nurses.

“Victoria College is committed to providing the trained and educated workforce needed in the region,” said Dr. Jennifer Kent, VC President. “I commend the Dean of Allied Health and her team for their innovative plan to make nursing school a reality for more community members who have to work to provide for their families.”

VC currently offers two options for students pursuing an associate degree in nursing, which is required to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Students who have no prior nursing experience can enroll in the two-year ADN Program, which is offered face-to-face, while students who have already become Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) can enroll in a one-year transition program that includes an online component for lecture courses.

Similar to the transition program for LVNs, the new hybrid track will offer new nursing students the flexibility of online lectures combined with in-person skills training at VC’s state-of-the-art Health Sciences Center and clinicals at affiliated healthcare facilities.

“We are excited to offer the convenience and flexibility of online learning while maintaining the essential hands-on components provided through clinicals and skills exams,” said Darla Strother, Dean of VC’s Division of Allied Health. “VC recognizes the evolving needs of today’s students, and the new hybrid track will allow us to better accommodate the needs of those who work and have diverse schedules. Many of our students are parents themselves and juggle real-world responsibilities in addition to the rigors of being a student.”

In order to accommodate the additional clinical spaces needed for students enrolling in the new hybrid track, VC plans to incorporate some evening and weekend rotations into the clinical schedule for all its allied health students.

“It has always been essential for our healthcare students to gain hands-on experience during our clinical partners’ busiest daytime shifts,” said Strother. “That is certainly still the case, but we are now strategically broadening our clinical experiences to include some evenings and weekends.”

In addition to the hybrid track, VC plans to partner with UHV to offer a concurrent program that provides a streamlined pathway for nursing students to earn both an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Under the new partnership, students will have the opportunity to enroll in VC’s two-year ADN Program while simultaneously being admitted into UHV’s four-year BSN Program.

In the nursing pathway, it is common for students to complete a BSN to position themselves for future job advancement into leadership roles.

“A BSN degree is a window of opportunity for students. It provides a pedestal for progressing to graduate degrees,” said Dorothy Thomas, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the UHV Nursing Program. “In addition, our UHV and VC concurrent nursing program gives prospective nursing students an initial BSN Program opportunity, which increases nursing students and the nursing workforce. As nurse educators, we strive to be a model of excellence and provide nurses with all the necessary educational services.”

Students who enroll in the new concurrent program will complete their prerequisites and program of study courses at VC in two years and will then enter the ADN Program at VC while simultaneously enrolling in UHV’s online BSN courses. Upon successful completion, students will be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to become a registered nurse and will have the opportunity to obtain their BSN degree at the same time.

“The nursing shortage in our country is critical, and its impact on smaller communities is significant,” said Thomas. “This partnership is long in the making and sets a goal of increasing nurses in our community and surrounding communities. We take pride in our community; therefore, our students at both institutions are our pride.”

Dr. Daniel Cano, Chief Medical Officer at Citizens Medical Center and a member of VC’s Board of Trustees, agrees the nursing shortage is not going away anytime soon.

“The introduction of a new hybrid track in VC’s nursing program as well as the college’s partnership with UHV to introduce a concurrent ADN-BSN program demonstrate VC’s commitment to addressing this challenge with innovative solutions,” he said.

The VC Foundation has also received a generous donation from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation to fund additional scholarships for students pursuing health careers.

Victoria College is accepting applications through June 1 at 4 p.m. for its Fall 2023 cohort of ADN Program students. Applications are also being accepted for VC’s one-year Vocational Nursing Program which will begin in Jan. 2024. The deadline to submit the application and required documentation is Oct. 1 at noon. For more information or to apply for either nursing program, visit