MCALLEN, Texas – South Texas College had hoped to make a big announcement at its 2023 Workforce Summit last week. But, the Department of Labor’s approval of a first-of-its-kind Registered Nursing Apprenticeship Program is still a couple of weeks ago.

The need for more nurses is great. According to Jayson T. Valero, STC’s dean of nursing and allied health, the Rio Grande Valley is 3,000 nurses short what it needs.

Valero, pictured above, gave the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service an exclusive interview at the Workforce Summit. He said the Registered Nursing Apprenticeship Program will be a game changer for the Valley because it will increase productivity and retention rates.

“The student or the apprentice will complete his or her clinical hours in one hospital. They will already be acculturated and assimilated in the hospital. So by the time that they graduate, they already know the culture. Within the hospital they will already know their role. So their onboarding time will be lessened.”

Valero said the turnover rate of nursing nationally is 27.1 percent. “The reason for that is… they are going into the role as a novice. All of a sudden they feel burned out. Why? Because they don’t have enough training,” Valero said.

“Hopefully, with this Registered Nursing Apprenticeship Program, as early as day one of their journey with us in the ADN program, they will be able to master the role of the nurse.”


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