As TLU’s Nursing program continues to flourish, seven recent graduates were hired by Guadalupe Regional Medical Center (GRMC) in Seguin. With the demand for nurses exponentially increasing—especially in rural areas—having graduates remain local is a testament to both the program itself and the strength of this community partnership.
Class of 2022 alumni Rebecca Barlow, Deann Castilleja, Kameryn Lindley, Kristina Locke, Andrew Lopez, Ashlynn Noyola, and Megan Stapleton have all taken positions with GRMC. According to TLU Nursing Director Dr. Amie Bedgood, GRMC has been a key supporter of the program through the provision of clinical placements for student learning, scholarships, and the hiring of graduates.
“Community partnerships are critical to the success of a nursing program,” Bedgood said. “These programs rely on community partners such as GRMC to support nursing education and nursing students as they navigate the transition into practice. Our partnership with GRMC has afforded the TLU Department of Nursing an opportunity to support initiatives that GRMC has implemented, like the COVID-19 vaccine clinics. TLU nursing students were able to actively engage with GRMC and the community through the many vaccine clinics that were offered in Guadalupe County during pandemic.”
Not only does GRMC support TLU students through hands-on, clinical initiatives, they also established a Nursing Excellence Scholarship in October 2021, providing $10,000 total per year for up to two students enrolled in the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing program each year for the next four academic years.
By supporting TLU through a multi-year pledge to fund annual scholarships, GRMC and other annual scholarship donors are having a direct impact on students as they pursue their education.
GRMC VP of Employee Services Fay Bennett says the partnership between the two organizations is an incredible asset to the greater Seguin area.
“We value the very important relationship that has been fostered with TLU over the past several decades,” said Bennett. “TLU has an outstanding nursing program that has continued to cultivate high quality nurses year after year. Texas Lutheran University is a respected institution in our community and GRMC is proud to be part of a partnership that supports students in health care.”
According to the Rural Health Information Hub, a long-term strategy often referred to as “grow-your-own” suggests health care professionals are more likely to consider serving the community where they were trained and raised. Bedgood says since the inception of the nursing program, their focus has been to recruit and retain diverse nursing students from surrounding counties with hopes they will graduate and enter the local workforce.
“We are taking this proactive approach to develop a diverse nursing workforce that mirrors the community they serve,” she said. “Evidence also supports that a diverse nursing workforce that mirrors their community plays a role in achieving the goal of eliminating health disparities.”
GRMC Chief Nursing Officer Daphne Blake says having such a robust program near their medical center is a wonderful opportunity for everyone.
“It’s a privilege to collaborate with the TLU nursing program and retain their graduating nurses at our facility to continue caring for the well-being of our patients,” Blake said. “GRMC is proud of the dedication TLU has put into their nursing program and the reputation that has come from producing a highly qualified nursing staff that have a desire and commitment to care for our community.”