University of St. Thomas to Launch Accelerated Nursing Program

New program to expand education opportunities, fill the dire need for nurses in Houston

The University of St. Thomas will help prepare a greater number of nurses for jobs in demand through a new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) in partnership with Orbis Education.

The program will put students on a fast track by enabling them to leverage their non-nursing bachelor’s degrees to earn a BSN in as little as 12 months.

UST Partners with Orbis Education
“Our goal is to afford more people the opportunity to pursue their calling while filling the urgent need for nurses in our community and throughout the state,” said Dr. Poldi Tschirch, dean of the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing at the University of St. Thomas. “Our collaboration with Orbis Education, which is nationally known for providing outstanding infrastructure and resource support for nursing programs, will make it possible for us to offer a program that will attract and effectively serve highly qualified second degree students seeking careers in professional nursing.”

Second-largest Nursing Shortage Predicted in Texas
By 2030, Texas will have the second-largest nursing shortage in the country behind California, according to the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis. During the next 11 years, the number of unfilled positions will grow to 60,000, based on projections by the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies.

But while the nursing shortage is well-documented, thousands of students are turned away from colleges and universities whose programs are at capacity.

As recently as 2016, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimated that more than 64,000 qualified students were turned away from nursing education programs that were already at capacity,” said Daniel Briggs, founder and CEO of Orbis Education. “The new accelerated BSN program will enable the University of St. Thomas to work hand in hand with local health providers to plan for their workforce needs and then deliver a pipeline of talented, work-ready nurses specially prepared to meet those needs.”

UST’s Holistic Nursing Program with Orbis’ E-learning Platform
The hybrid program will feature the University’s accredited holistic nursing curriculum in an interactive, e-learning platform supported by Orbis Education. Students will also hone their skills in a state-of-the-art simulation learning center that replicates a clinical setting and in a real-world environment through clinical rotations at top Houston-area hospitals.

Tschirch believes that the partnership with Orbis Education will benefit the University and students. “Like the University of St. Thomas, Orbis has a passion for preparing the next generation of nurses with the skills to care for the whole person,” she said. “The expertise and resources that they bring to supporting the faculty in delivering the nursing curriculum will benefit faculty and students, creating an environment that is conducive to our students’ learning preferences and based on their diverse scheduling needs.”

The program will include three start dates each year, with the first classes set to begin in the fall of 2020. For more information, visit

About the University of St. Thomas
The University of St. Thomas is a comprehensive university, grounded in the liberal arts. Committed to the unity of all knowledge, we offer programs in the traditional liberal arts, professional and skill-based disciplines. Graduates of the University of St. Thomas think critically, communicate effectively, succeed professionally and lead ethically. 

About Orbis Education
Orbis Education Services develops, markets and manages healthcare education solutions that result in outstanding student outcomes and help alleviate workforce shortages for hospitals and healthcare systems. Founded in 2003, the company forms strategic partnerships with academic institutions and healthcare systems to enable the delivery of high-quality, clinically intensive nursing, occupational therapy and other healthcare education programs. Orbis Education is a subsidiary of Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (LOPE), a publicly traded shared services partner dedicated to serving colleges and universities. For more information, visit