Poldi Tschirch PhD, RN, CNE, HN-BC, Dean,


Building on the mission of the University of St. Thomas and its Founders, the Basilian Fathers, and nourished by the historic traditions of Catholic nursing education and service, the University of St. Thomas Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing will educate nurses intellectually, morally, and spiritually in the art and science of nursing as a compassionate healing ministry.


The UST Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing (PSON) will be nationally recognized as an educational community that is an exemplar in the formation of nurses for holistic healing ministries in the 21st century healthcare environment.


UST’s deep conviction about the nature of nursing as a healing ministry shapes the philosophy of the Peavy School of Nursing and serves as the standard measuring, intent and outcomes of all the school’s endeavors. With this undergirding, we frame and describe the essential elements of the healing ministry we pursue and make manifest:

The concepts of person, nursing health and environments were defined as follows for the UST nurse and are further discussed in Standard III in the conceptual framework presentation.

  1. For the UST Nurse, Person is the ineffable expression of “God among us” that is the unique, complex multidimensional mystery of each human. Both nurse and patient, as persons, bring to healing encounters their self–awareness, intentionality and consciousness; these human capacities create the conditions for healing.
  2. For the UST Nurse, Nursing is a professional discipline and practice, both an art and a science, manifest as a healing ministry expressing the presence of God. Nurses bring to their relationships with persons a conscious, intentional and relational presence. Using their knowledge and skill, nurses express their therapeutic capacity through their unique spiritual calling and commitment, guiding others to a desired wholeness.
  3. For the UST Nurse, Health is optimal wholeness of persons achieved through the full expression of individual and communal healing practices made possible through nursing, by nurses. Health is a multidimensional state of beingthatencompassesbody, mindand spirit for the nurseandthepatient in their shared encounters focused oncare.
  4. For the UST Nurse, Environment is the totality of all forces and factors that shape the nurse to patient encounters that make healing possible. Each encounter offers an unrepeatable moment, as environment is a constant state of change. Nurses enter the care environment in order to create the conditions and relationships necessary for healing.

All members of the UST/PSON community, in embracing these fundamental understandings of the essential elements of nursing, create and participate in education, scholarship, service and care initiatives that make the healing presence of God manifest. They are guided by the human capacities for compassion, justice, tolerance, reflection, creativity, and moral choice.


The UST core curriculum goals reflect the knowledge, skills and attitudes associated with a classical liberal arts education and are highly congruent with the standards for professional nursing education articulated in the AACN Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice (2008), the Texas Board of Nursing Differentiated Essential Competencies (2010) and the Institute of Medicine Core Competencies (2005). The PSON offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing through 2 tracks – 1. the traditional BSN track for students earning their first baccalaureate degree and 2. The Accelerated Second Degree BSN (ABSN) track for students who have earned a baccalaureate degree in another field before entry into the ABSN track.                                                   BSN Program outcomes are designed to prepare graduates to achieve entry–level competency for the transition into professional nursing practice as a provider of safe, high quality patient–centered care, an effective member of the health care team and member of the nursing profession whose practice reflects an understanding of nursing as a healing ministry. In order to meet those program goals, students are expected to meet the following learning outcomes upon graduation.

Articulate a personal philosophy of nursing based on an understanding of nursing as a healing ministry rooted in the historic Catholic caring tradition and focused on wholeness – mind, body and spirit.

  1. Integrate foundational concepts from behavioral, life, social sciences and biomedical sciences, the humanities, theology and philosophy into a nursing knowledge base as a resource for understanding and responding to the human experience of health, illness and healing.
  2. Provide relationship–centered nursing care that is grounded in nursing theory and guided by evidence– based best practice standards to support individuals, families and communities in achieving their goals for healing and wholeness.
  3. Coordinate nursing care for individuals, families and communities through creation of the conditions and relationships that support healing and wholeness.
  4. Demonstrate communication skills that support the creation of effective therapeutic relationships, interdisciplinary relationships and effective advocacy for the healing goals of all recipients of nursingcare.
  5. Integrate principles for culturally competent care into the holistic nursing process for individuals, families and communities.
  6. Use concepts, skills and technologies from computer and information sciences to support the knowledge work of nursing.
  7. Demonstrate skills in reflective practice that facilitate one’s continuing growth in nursing knowledge, clinical reasoning and the self–awareness essential for creating healing presence and healingrelationships.
  8. Utilize nursing theory, nursing research and methods of clinical inquiry as the basis for continuously enhancing the quality of care.
  9. Utilize beginning leadership and management skills to coordinate the delivery of care and create healing environments in the settings in which nursing care is delivered.
  10. Articulate the inter–relationship of environment and health at local, national and global levels.
  11. Apply principles and values consistent with Catholic social teaching to the analysis of health care delivery and health policy.
  12. Participate in the social advocacy role of the nurse through membership in professional organizations and engagement in community service.
  13. Practice professional nursing in accordance with the standards of the Nursing Practice Act of the Stateof Texas, the baccalaureate level competencies for the BSN graduate defined by the Texas Board of Nursing and the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics.


Nursing Essential Functions

“The ability to function independently in a clinical practice setting is essential to the role of professional nursing” (AACN, 2001).

Competencies necessary for the professional practice of nursing include the following functions which, with or without reasonable accommodations include, but are not restricted to, the specific examples listed below:

  1. Sensory
    1. Visual acuity must be sufficient to observe and assess client behavior, prepare and administer medications and accurately read monitors; accurately read gauges and calibrated equipment having fine lines and read client records including graphs.
    2. Auditory acuity must be sufficient to hear instructions, requests, and monitor alarms at a distance of 30 feet and to auscultate heart tones breath sounds and bowel sounds.
  2. Interactive
    1. The ability to speak, write and comprehend the English language proficiently.
    2. Communicate orally in person and by telephone.
    3. Speak and write with accuracy, clarity and efficiency.
  3. Physical
    1. The ability to lift weights of up to 35% of recommended body weight independently.
    2. The motor ability necessary to manipulate equipment and supplies and to utilize palpation and percussion in client assessment.
    3. Sufficient manual dexterity to open doors, perform CPR, maneuver in client areas such as multiple occupancy rooms, access storage at heights of six feet, move a medication cart or emergency cart along a hall, manipulate sphygmomanometers and stethoscopes, electric and manual beds and electronic fluid pumps and thermometers.
    4. Be at a correct height to perform physical care activities such as bed bath, positioning, transferring, dressing changes, sterile technique, IV administration, placing a bedpan, emptying a urine drainage bag and applying protective clothing.
    5. Perform isolation techniques in a client’s room.
    6. Dispose of sharps in a client’s room.
    7. Operate client–lifting devices.
  4. Cognitive
    1. Ability to learn, think critically, analyze, assess, solve problems.
    2. Set priorities and reach judgments.
    3. Communicate in a professional manner.
    4. Establish rapport with clients and colleagues.


Students admitted to the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing (PSON) will be subject to participation requirements established by health care organizations that host student clinical rotations, which include:

  • Criminal background checks,
  • CPR certification,
  • Various titers,
  • Specific immunizations
  • Personal health insurance

These requirements may also include verification of identity and compliance with federal immigration laws.

The Texas Department of Health (TAC97.64) requires immunizations for all healthcare workers. Nursing students must complete the vaccinations and present their immunization records to the PSON prior to the start of each clinical rotation.

Upon admission to the Nursing Program, the student will be informed of the required documentation of titers and immunizations that must be provided prior to the start of each clinical rotation. Additional health requirements may be mandated by some clinical agencies.

The following titers and/or immunizations are required: 

  1. MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). (Titer required as evidence of immunity. If titer is negative, then two doses of vaccine will be required.)* **
  2. Tdap (1 dose) following completion of primary series with Td.
  3. Hepatitis B titer. If titer is negative, follow up with Hepatitis B vaccine series or Hepatitis A/B vaccine series with booster.* ** (The third and final Hepatitis B shot is given six months after the first inoculation so it is imperative that enough time is allowed for completion of the standard series prior to clinical rotations. If time does not permit for the standard series, please take the fast track Hepatitis B series to ensure the shots are completed prior to clinical rotations.)
  4. Hepatitis C Antibody test. ** (If test is positive, contact your physician for follow up.)
  5. Varicella. (Titer required as evidence of immunity. If titer is negative, then two doses of vaccine will be required.)* **
  6. Influenza (flu shot). One dose annual fall/winter vaccine. Required annually.*
  7. TB screen (PPO). Required annually.Alternately, a medical plan for follow–up if PPO contraindicated. **

*Texas Department of Health, Health Care Provider requirement, TAC 97.64

**Required by many clinical agencies. Additional health requirements may be mandated by some clinical agencies.

If for any reason, any required immunization is contraindicated, the student is required to present a record of medical evaluation and recommendations. Students who have not met all clinical rotation requirements prior to the start date for the course will be dropped from the course.

Students who can successfully combine satisfactory school attendance with pregnancy or with special health problems will not be prohibited from registration in nursing courses. The student must, however, fulfill the same attendance and course requirements as any other student. No special clinical assignments can be made. Students must inform course coordinators and the clinical instructors of pregnancy or special health problems.


All students must have current certification in CPR prior to the beginning of each clinical rotation. A student who cannot provide this documentation will not be allowed to attend clinical activities. This is a responsibility of the student and a requirement of both the UST-PSON and the affiliating agencies.


Drug screening may be required by some clinical agencies. The School will designate a company to do the drug screen and will not accept results from any company other than the one designated by the School. The student will pay the cost of the screening at the time of the testing. The School will not honor student requests to change clinical sites because of drug testing requirements. Students may be required to undergo drug screening on multiple occasions during clinical coursework.

A student who has a positive drug screen will not be allowed to participate in clinical courses. The student will be required to complete, at the student’s expense, a chemical dependency evaluation/treatment program, if this is recommended by a drug assessment. Any student with a positive drug screen will be suspended for a minimum of one calendar year and will be required to provide documentation of successful treatment prior to being readmitted to clinical courses. If readmitted, the student must be retested by the School–approved laboratory and have a negative drug screen. This testing is at the student’s expense.


Students taking any clinical courses have malpractice insurance that is provided by the University. The cost is included in course fees. Students must be registered for the course to meet this requirement.


Some hospitals require that students doing clinicals at their facilities carry personal healthcare insurance. Therefore, all students must present documentation of healthcare coverage upon acceptance into the UST–PSON.


Completion of degree requirements for the BSN degree does not guarantee licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Eligibility for licensure as a registered nurse in Texas is determined by the Texas Board of Nursing. Texas law prohibits certain persons from taking the licensure exam and practicing nursing, i.e., persons who have been convicted of a felony, a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or have engaged in conduct resulting in the revocation of probation imposed pursuant to such a conviction.

Criminal background screening will be completed on all students accepted for admission into the nursing program prior to enrollment in clinical courses. The PSON will participate in the Background Check Program through the Texas Board of Nursing (BON). Students pay all expenses related to all screening. A student with a significant criminal background or a current conviction may not be allowed to register for nursing courses until the BON issues a declaratory order stating the individual is eligible for initial licensure.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Individuals who have reason to believe they may have barriers to licensure may request the Board of Nursing (BON) to make a determination of eligibility. An individual may file a request for a declaratory order of eligibility with the BON. It is important to pursue this option early in order to avoid challenges related to licensure eligibility.

Applications and guidelines for filing a declaratory order are found at the BON website at


To become a licensed RN in the state of Texas, students must apply to the Texas Board of Nursing. Information regarding the application process and fees may be found on–line at: . The process is reviewed during the final semester of senior nursing courses. Graduates are eligible to apply for RN licensure in all 50 states and US territories. Graduates interested in licensure in other states should check with the relevant state boards.

After successful completion of all required nursing courses and posting of the degree by the Registrar’s Office, the dean of the PSON (or designee) will complete and submit the Affidavit of Graduation (AOG) to the BON. Student may apply to the BON for licensure only after the BON informs them that the Affidavit of Graduation was received. This process may take 3–4 weeks.


Candidates for initial RN licensing in Texas are required to successfully complete a nursing jurisprudence exam. The 50–item exam, as well as study resources, is located online at the Texas Board of Nursing website:


In addition to applying for licensure to the Board of Nursing for the state in which the graduate wishes to be licensed, graduates from nursing programs must apply to take the NCLEX–RN© Exam. Thirty days prior to graduation, students must register with Pearson/Vue at Pearson/Vue is the testing agency for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. The requirements are reviewed in the final semester of senior nursing courses. Students are responsible for all registration fees. For additional information please visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) at

Degrees and Certificates