The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College
Vocational Nursing Program History
1955 - 2001
The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College Vocational Nursing Program was the first college based Vocational Nursing Program in the Rio Grande Valley. It was established as a hospital based vocational nursing program by the Sisters of Mercy on June 6, 1955. The program was housed at the J. T. Canales Vocational Nursing School Building to the rear of Mercy Hospital at 1040 W. Jefferson St., now known as Brownsville Medical Center. Its first faculty members consisted of Sister Mary Ambrose, Sister Julie, Lois del Castillo, and Margaret Cantu Barredas. From 1955 – 1958 the program was located in one classroom at a local convent. For the next ten-year period of June 6, 1958 to August 24, 1968 the program was housed at the J. T. Canales Vocational Nursing School, and graduated a total of 144 students.
In September 1966 the program was transferred to Texas Southmost College upon approval of the Texas Education Agency. The program was housed at the Fred Rusteberg Jr. Applied Arts building and to this day is still housed in that same location. It was the first college based nursing program in the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas Southmost College Vocational Nursing Program has graduated in excess of 1514 students from September 1966 to present. For the 46-year period the total number of graduates is over 2,500. The Licensed Vocational Nurse is employed in hospitals, physicians’ offices, community health center, long term care facilities, nursing homes, city and state funded clinics, within local industries and home health agencies
We at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College were the first in the state to adopt the revised curriculum for Vocational Nursing approved by the Texas Coordinating Board and the State Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners. These curriculum changes were structured to meet the needs to prepare individuals at three nursing levels. With this change, our unique program prepares students at the Nursing Assistants level for both Acute Care and Long – term care after having completed their first semester in the program and allows them to be eligible to sit for the State Exam in long term Nursing Assistant Care. Students who continue 2 more levels through the program and graduate are eligible to take the State Licensure Exam and become Licensed Vocational Nurses.
The first class to be under TSC Administration was enrolled on September 19, 1966 and graduated September 22, 1967, with eight Vocational Nursing students. The Vocational Nursing Program will celebrate its heritage of 46 years of nursing education in 2001. Thirty-five of those years being at the college level. The program has been lead by Margarita Barredas 1966 – 1989, Joyce Ramsey 1990 – 1992, and by Gloria Spencer 1993 – 1994 school year.
Over the years the program has grown in numbers. The program had expanded to McAllen and Weslaco. Although the University recently returned the McAllen and Weslaco programs back to their respective communities under South Texas Community College our program at Brownsville and Port Isabel still remains.