WT Nursing Department, Rural Healthcare Featured in Latest ‘I Am WT’ Podcast


CANYON, Texas — The growth of West Texas A&M University’s Department of Nursing and its expanding focus on rural healthcare are in the spotlight in the latest episode of WT’s student-run podcast.

Nursing department head Dr. Holly Jeffreys and Jackie Jimenez, a senior nursing student from Carpinteria, California, speak with “I Am WT” hosts Tearanee’ Lockhart and Brae Foust in the latest episode, available March 9 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud, as well as at wtamu.edu/IAmWTPodcast.

Jeffreys discussed WT’s role in the Rural Nursing Education Consortium, a partnership between WT, Frank Phillips College, Amarillo College and rural hospitals in Borger, Dalhart, Dumas, Hereford and Perryton.

“We’ve come together to provide nursing education and all levels … so these nurses can stay in the rural communities,” Jeffreys said.

Jimenez is in the first cohort of nursing students to attend classes in the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center, after the department officially took residence in the center in August 2021.

“The nursing lab is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Jimenez said. “It’s beautiful. Everything is state of the art. There are plenty of spots for us to hang out and study. Eveything you need to be successful is there.”

The Amarillo Center now houses about 250 undergraduate bachelor of nursing students and about 20 nursing faculty and staff. In its 25,000 square feet, the Baptist Community Services Nursing Education Floor includes state-of-the-art simulation labs and other innovative educational spaces.

“We’ve seen some great growth (since moving to the center). We’ve nearly doubled the number of graduates,” Jeffreys said. “We take every nook and cranny in the building and use it.”

Both Jeffreys and Jimenez expressed gratitude for donors to WT’s historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. Among the most significant gifts to the campaign thus far was High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation’s $3 million donation in February 2021.

“We tell the students (that such donations) is because of people in the Panhandle who really want to see you succeed,” Jeffreys said.

Established 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.

To date, WT’s five-year One West campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $120 million. It fuels the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

In the biweekly episodes of “I Am WT,” student hosts Lockhart, a senior advertising/PR major from Amarillo, and Foust, an Amarillo native pursuing his second bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, interview WT faculty, staff, students and alumni about what WT means to them.

Audiences hear stories about how attending or working at WT changed the lives of the guests, and how they’re making a difference in their community.