By Sonya Harvey
A new district director of nursing is being sought to help cure problems in nursing programs.
At its regular monthly meeting Dec. 11, the board of trustees will decide who the new director will be.
Three internal and external candidates applied for the job, but President Robert Zeigler; Dr. Adena Loston, president of St. Philip’s College; and Dr. Federico Zaragoza, vice chancellor for professional, technical and workforce development, have recommended Dr. Lula Pelayo, dean of professional and technical education, for the job.
“Dean Pelayo has all of the leadership and professional qualities we would be looking for in this position,” Zaragoza said.
For more than 25 years, Pelayo has served as a nursing instructor and coordinator. Beginning in 1978, Pelayo served as a nurse in the Egdewood Independent School District until coming here in 1981. She then taught in the nursing department until 1987.
Her administrative career began when Pelayo was hired as the continuing nursing education coordinator, and in 1997, she became chair of the nursing education department before her promotion to dean in 2004.
“Dean Pelayo has very strong credentials in the nursing area,” Zaragoza said. “We are very fortunate she has applied for the job.”
The duties will include coordinating and directing the nursing programs to meet the needs of the district and the community as well as generating resources needed for the future.
The director also will be responsible for working with the healthcare community and colleges to recruit nursing faculty and work with universities to establish a “Grow Your Own” program to prepare future nursing faculty.
Zeigler said, “We need more faculty and we need to work more closely with the colleges and the community.”
Furthermore, the director will be in charge of planning, developing and implementing the nursing program’s policies to meet state and federal agency guidelines, and accreditation and certification standards at this college, as well as St. Philip’s College.
As reported in the Oct. 12 issue of The Ranger, students in the Associate Degree in Nursing Mobility program at St. Philip’s College received insufficient scores on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses causing the Board of Nursing Examiners to put the ADN mobility program on conditional status until Feb. 21.
As a result, new nursing students will not be allowed to enroll in the ADN nursing program.
Although the accreditation exam scores were below par, students can still enroll in the Licensed Vocational Nurse program.
Along with students not making the grade, overcrowding in classrooms and a shortage of nursing faculty are among the problems the new director will have to face.
To help alleviate the congestion of students enrolling in nursing programs, the district has already laid the groundwork for construction on new nursing facilities at this campus and St. Philip’s.
“With St. Philip’s and SAC building new facilities, enrollment of nursing will increase significantly,” Zeigler said.
Salaries paid to nursing faculty are another issue the new director will have to deal with.
In June, this college’s Faculty Senate released a statement regarding the scarcity of nursing faculty.
In the statement, the Faculty Senate did not necessarily agree with the district’s plans to grant higher stipends to nursing faculty.
They suggested other ways to compensate nursing educators, such as getting help from the private sector, forming arrangements with local hospitals and looking at options other colleges have tried.
With the problems facing the nursing programs, the district’s hiring of a new district director of nursing may be the necessary remedy.