WTAMU Department of Nursing moves to Amarillo campus causing possible uncertainty for pre-nursing students

Bivins+Nursing+Learning+Center+located+at+West+Texas+A%26M+University+in+Canyon%2C+TX.%2C+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+9%2C+2020

Emily Merrill

Bivins Nursing Learning Center located at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX., Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020

In Nov. 2019, Dr. Walter Wendler, president of West Texas A&M University, announced that the WTAMU Department of Nursing would be relocating to Amarillo. Not only does this move change things for current nursing students, but also for pre-nursing majors that are freshman and sophomores this year.

Kenzie Underwood, a sophomore and pre-nursing student at WTAMU, spoke on how this move is going to affect her plans for the future.

“I will have to start nursing school next year in Amarillo. I think the hardest part about that will be adapting to a new place. I’m so used to being around friends and doing things here and being in a new area will be different,” Underwood said.

Not only is the fear of moving to a new place present, but also the fear of not having a connection between the nursing and pre-nursing students.

“It was nice to have friendships with older nursing students and I’m kind of sad that I won’t get to have that. The freshman and sophomores will have to go into nursing school blind. It was so comforting for me to get to meet the nursing staff, the other kids won’t get that,” Underwood said.

Another concern is that some students may have to commute from Canyon to Amarillo quite often for classes. Cayla Koak, a junior and current nursing student at WTAMU, spoke on behalf of this issue.

“If students have one course at the Amarillo location and the rest in Canyon, it may be really hard for them especially if they don’t have a car,” Koak said.

There are positives for moving the program to Amarillo. Nursing students are required to have clinicals, meaning they get in-house practice on what being a nurse really looks like. The students are given actual patients to look after. Clinicals are conducted at multiple hospitals in Amarillo.

“It’s convenient to move the program to Amarillo for clinicals. It’ll be easier to do that instead of waking up even earlier and driving all the way from Canyon,” said Sara Strickland, nursing alumni from WTAMU.

The WTAMU Nursing Department is ranked as one of the best nursing schools in the state of Texas. The nursing students are proud of their accomplishments and love to be recognized for them. Unfortunately, the nursing program doesn’t always get the recognition it needs and deserves.

“The nursing school has never been the forefront for WT even though it’s a very distinguished program. We have such high passing and success rates and no one really even knows about it. I’m just afraid that moving to Amarillo would hide it even more than it already is,” Strickland said.

Some concern has come about regarding the success rates the program already has and what moving to Amarillo will do to those rates. Along with that, how much more difficult will it be for pre-nursing students to get into nursing school. Koak said that the success of the program will not be shaken.

“I don’t think that it’ll make it harder for pre-nursing students to get into nursing school at all! I think it will have the same retention and rate we have now. It may make it more competitive, or it may open more spots for future students to get in,” Koak said.

With this new move, the WTAMU Department of Nursing will continue to grow and keep moving forward.