The University of Louisiana at Lafayette informed students on Jan. 27 that nursing and allied health students now belong to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. The nursing program has been renamed the LHC Group · Myers School of Nursing.

The much-anticipated name change has been the result of the many accomplishments of the LHC Group · Myers School of Nursing and the Department of Health Sciences.

The department has been elevated to a college. The LHC Group is one of the largest providers of homecare, hospice care and long-term acute care in the United States that has a long-standing relationship with UL. 

It offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing. 

According to the UL Lafayette website, faculty in the LHC Group · Myers School of Nursing has goals of promoting, expanding and validating scientific knowledge for the advancement of health. 

“The department provides an atmosphere of scholarly inquiry, an appreciation of professional values, inter-professional collaboration and active community service,” the website states

According to Melinda G. Oberleitner, LHC Group Endowed Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, the nursing program is a designated Center of Excellence in Nursing Education and is one of the largest traditional nursing programs in the United States. Many outstanding faculty are recognized as leaders in their respective disciplines. Additionally, the students who graduated have a very high pass rate for the licensure and certification exams.

The Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing is primarily for advanced practice registered nurses or family nurse practitioners. These nurse practitioners work in a primary care setting and are interested in pursuing more training and education in cardiovascular nursing. 

“We are the only university in Louisiana to offer a graduate certificate in cardiovascular nursing for nurse practitioners,” the UL Lafayette website states

The Department of Health Sciences has revised the department’s name from allied health to health sciences as well. 

The Department of Health Sciences includes programs in a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Manage, Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration and Graduate Certificate in Population Health programs.

According to Oberleitner, the college considers health sciences a more contemporary term that would include the different types of programs in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. 

The Graduate Certification in Population Health will have the first cohort of students in Spring 2022. According to Rachel Ellison, Health Services Administration Program Coordinator, the pandemic made social and environmental challenges evident and the certification aims to eliminate these problems. 

“The certificate program will teach students how to use data to identify challenges and disparities in healthcare with the goal of improving outcomes across all populations,” Ellison said. They will use the knowledge they learned in their career to develop policies and strategies to address factors that influence population health outcomes” 

The program is 100% online and will take six months to complete. Future career opportunities such as hospital administrator, physician practice manager, chief compliance officer and physician practice manager are available to graduates. 

The College of Nursing and Health Sciences has 1,633 students enrolled in their curriculum. Nursing students make up 88% of enrollment in the college. The students were given items with the former name of the school and banners were hung in V.L. Wharton Hall.

 Noelle Prados, senior majoring in nursing, wrote in a statement to the Vermilion, “This has been the most challenging but also most rewarding experience I have had thus far in my life. The BSN program has a high level of both rigor and relevance. Since science and technology are ever evolving, the BSN program is great about always providing the latest evidence-based education/practice to us. We are taught to provide holistic care to meet our patients’ physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental, and social needs.”

Prados described learning how to implement critical thinking strategies to provide high-quality patient care. The students rotate between lectures and clinical hours that give them experience before graduating. 

“We are all ready to join the frontline with the hope of making a difference within our communities,” Prados wrote in the statement.