• December 9, 2019

UTPB nursing dean looks to expand offerings - Odessa American: UTPB

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UTPB nursing dean looks to expand offerings

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  • A Need for Nursing

    Dr. Donna Beuk is the new Dean of Nursing at the University of Texas Permian Basin. Beuk is standing in her department's Simulation and Learning Resource Center.

Posted: Monday, November 18, 2019 3:30 am

The new dean of University of Texas Permian Basin College of Nursing Donna Beuk wants to recruit more students and increase opportunities for them.

Beuk, who started at UTPB in August, spent 12 years working as a registered nurse with experience in clinics, hospital care, veteran care and critical care.

She has spent the last 11 years teaching the next generation of nurses. Beuk earned the Irma B. Moore Excellence in Teaching Award and was a candidate for Auburn University at Montgomery’s Distinguished Teaching Professor. She also is a four-time member of Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities.

Before she came to UTPB, Beuk was chair for the school of nursing at Husson University in Bangor, Maine, a private, nonprofit liberal arts university.

As chair, Beuk said she had oversight of Husson’s undergraduate bachelor of science in nursing program, which had a traditional pre-licensure and a post licensure track.

The program at Husson also included a master of science in nursing with educational leadership, family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program.

“Then we had post-master’s certificate programs for the family nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner, as well,” Beuk said.

Housed within the college of health and pharmacy the nursing program had about 428 undergraduate and about 120 graduate students, maybe more, she said. The college had about 4,000 students.

“It was the largest component within the college,” Beuk said.

Some of the reasons she decided to move to West Texas were to help grow the nursing program and provide healthcare providers to this region, as well as to the nation.

One of her objectives is to grow the undergraduate program, create a graduate program and expand UTPB’s simulation and learning resource center for inter-professional education.

“We have different degree programs that are offered here at UTPB where our students can learn through simulation how to collaborate with each other,” Beuk said, referring to inter-professional education.

There are approximately 95 students in the nursing program.

“We are approved by the Texas Board of Nursing to accept 40 undergraduates in the fall and in the spring, so we would run approximately 160 in our pre-licensure program that’s where we’re at our max with that,” Beuk said.

The registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program has limitless space because it is 100 percent online.

“We can grow it to meet the needs of our region, our state and the nation because we have an impending shortage of nurses,” Beuk said.

With RN to BSN being online, UTPB also can reach across boundaries.

“We can work with veterans who are deployed overseas. If they want to continue to advance their education that’s not going to hold them back. They have internet access. They can take classes. We can work with them. The faculty that’s in that particular track are practitioners. The majority of them have a doctorate of nursing practice. They understand what it’s like to be in the role of active work, so they work very closely with the students to ensure their success,” Beuk said.

Beuk said she’s looking forward to helping the nursing program mature and grow into a program of choice.

“We have three fabulous, very dedicated chief nursing officers at Medical Center, ORMC and Midland Memorial (hospitals) and those three leaders are collaborative and really working to see where the needs are to support them as they grow their medical facilities,” Beuk said.

She added that this position is an opportunity for her personally, but it’s also a chance to contribute to the community and advance the nursing profession.

Beuk said she has been working with Texas Tech University Health Science Center Regional Dean of the School of Nursing Sharon Cannon.

She said Cannon has been a support and resource for her since she moved to Odessa.

“She brings a wealth of knowledge from her prior positions. She has a true desire to help students achieve their goals,” Cannon said in an email.

Beuk has an associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from the University of Mobile in Mobile, Ala., and a doctorate of education in instructional leadership with a specialization in nurse education from the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa.

She has also served as an item writer and Live Review Educator for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the test that students must take to become a licensed nurse.

As a dean, Beuk doesn’t typically teach, but she has been working with some second semester students in the classroom.

“They’re a group of 17 very energetic, excited students that are just truly eager to learn and to learn best practice and how they can make a difference once they graduate,” Beuk said.

But it’s not just the second semester students, she said.

“The first semester students when they’re walking down the hall and they’re coming from class, they’re excited about what they’ve just learned. Whenever I walk through the simulation (and) learning resource center, the students are engaged in active learning practices. They’re collaborating with each other. They’re collaborating with the faculty. It’s just very exciting to see all of this coming together …,” Beuk said.

She noted that UTPB is in the process of restructuring its recruitment and marketing for the nursing program.

“We do have a dedicated recruiter/admissions coordinator and she goes out to our local and regional community colleges. She goes to high school fairs, our local technical colleges, as well,” Beuk said.

She added that they also are looking at working with NursingCAS, a centralized admissions service through the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

“This will really help us be able to recruit candidates into the program from across the United States and the U.S. territories. It has been around for a long time. This is the only program that I’ve ever been involved in that does use NursingCAS,” Beuk said.

The college has its RN to BSN program, but no master’s degree or higher.

“That right now is under a proposal evaluation, so we really can’t expand on what we are looking at doing, but we’re hoping to put a proposal forward soon, in the spring,” Beuk said.

An open house for the fifth anniversary of the first graduating class of 2015 is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Simulation and Learning Resource Center on the third floor of the Mesa Building at UTPB.

People may tour the simulation and learning resource center, talk to faculty and students and learn more about the program and plans for growth.

“One of the major components will be inter-professional education, but simulated learning or experiential learning, however you want to define it is critical for students to be able to enhance their ability and critical thinking and clinical judgment,” Beuk said.

“We currently use different types of simulation across the curriculum. We are looking at that as a faculty of how we can improve and add to those opportunities because we are extremely fortunate to have the center that we do and we want to make sure that it’s fully utilized for the students’ benefit. We would like to expand and do community education for individuals health care providers,” she added.

That way they wouldn’t have to travel out of town for training.

Not including herself, Beuk said there are 11 full-time faculty in the nursing program.

“We have a full-time master’s prepared nurse educator that serves in the role of MEREN coordinator that actually stands for mentoring to educate, retain and empower nurses. A lot of people look at this individual as a student success coach,” Beuk said.

“But our scope does not end whenever they graduate. Her role is also to help new graduates with their licensure examination and transition to practice. So we don’t want to leave our graduates hanging once they’re gone. We want to actually be able to provide a support person for them once they’ve graduated,” she added.

Beuk and her husband, Kevin, have two children — a son and daughter. Beuk said her daughter is a BSN prepared registered nurse at a hospital in Mobile, Ala.

They have one grandchild and two dogs and a new one on the way.

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