Harlingen school embarks on nursing program

HARLINGEN — The keys to a young student’s future are being offered more frequently these days.

More courses and opportunities are available as the Harlingen school district networks with more businesses and educational institutions.

It’s the real world of work, also known as authentic learning, which is bringing the future to students’ doorsteps. Early preparation for lifelong careers is crucial, and that’s why ninth graders will begin their nursing studies this fall.

School professionals are gearing up to offer a Licensed Vocational Nursing program next fall at the Harlingen School for Health Professions. The Harlingen school board has just signed an agreement with Valley Baptist Medical Center to create the program.

The agreement is more formally called a memorandum of understanding.

“We will be recruiting incoming ninth graders so that they can start their pre-LVN work,” said Veronica Kortan, administrator for organizational development at the Harlingen school district.

The Harlingen School for Health Professions is the logical choice to create the program with its simulation labs and other facilities, she said.

“As we’re working with Valley Baptist, we need to make sure that we were going to have a facility that can really provide authentic learning,” Kortan said. “Whenever you offer one of these nursing programs, you have to be approved as a site to do that, through the board of nursing.”

The Texas Board of Nursing has given the OK to proceed, and the program is on target to begin this fall.

The district’s Strategic Plan promotes authentic learning, which means applying class work to real-life experiences.

“Our specialty rooms there are great and state of the art and so that helped us with the MOU,” she said.

The four-year course this fall is expected to open with about 25 students. Nursing courses must be taught by professional nurses. The district has several teachers who are licensed nurses.