WT Nursing Students to Get Hands-On Experience in Living in Poverty


CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University nursing students will learn what it’s like to live on the razor’s edge of poverty during a morning-long exercise Nov. 16.

Senior nursing students will take part in a poverty simulation from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 16 at the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center, 720 S. Tyler St. An additional 10 pre-med students from Midland College also will participate.

Students will experience a month in the life of a family living in poverty in four, 15-minute intervals, during which they must navigate social services, find work, secure childcare and transportation—even decide whether to pay utility bills or rent or buy groceries.

“This really is an eye-opening experience for our students,” said Laura Reyher, nursing instructor. “An important part of community health care is developing empathy for the circumstances our patients are experiencing, so we are equipping our students to better help these patients overcome barriers and improve their health.”

In addition to WT nursing faculty members, employees from Heal the City and Nurse Family Partnership will help run the simulation.

Established in 1972 and graduating its first students in 1974, WT’s Department of Nursing in its College of Nursing and Health Sciences currently provides about 70 percent of nurses employed throughout the Texas Panhandle.

WT nursing graduates, over the past five years, have averaged a 97 percent score on the National Council Licensure Examination, required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to test the competency of nursing school graduates in the United States and Canada. Nationally, the average is 85 percent; in Texas, it’s 87 percent.

Meeting regional needs, particularly in healthcare, is a vital component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.




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