The health care profession is in constant demand for more professionals and Texas Wesleyan University is ready to answer that call.

This semester, Wesleyan has created the new School of Health Professions by combining the counseling program from the School of Education and the Graduate Programs of Nurse Anesthesia, said Senior Vice President and Provost Allen Henderson.

The plan is to create a program that focuses on transforming current registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees into compassionate nurse practitioners, said Dr. Heidi Taylor, the new dean of the school.

North Texas hospitals are in desperate need of nurse practitioners, and the new school will help fill that gap, Henderson said.

“In the next ten years, Nurse Practitioners are expected to start playing a major role in primary care delivery,” Henderson said.

Most medical schools that focus on creating future doctors and primary care physicians teach them how to diagnosed diseases, said Taylor. A doctor’s focus is on diagnosing and treating illness and injury. Nurse Practitioners help patients manage illness, prevent disease, and promote health.

“With nurse practitioners, they don’t focus on the diagnosis or the disease, but the whole person,” Taylor said. “They focus on promoting a patient’s health and assist the patient with preventing diseases.”

The new school will teach students both critical thinking and stronger ability to understand the business part of the health practice, Taylor said.

Taylor is still working on the percentage projection of incoming students, but hopes to recruit 20 to 25 nurses for spring 2018.

“We hope to take already registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees who want a different type of relationship with patient and give them the business experience they are in need of,” Taylor said.

In spring 2018, new classes will be launched to teach nurses the business experience a family nurse practitioner needs, Taylor said.

“The school hopes to target prospective students that fall within the niche through integrated marketing strategies, which includes a mix of broadcast, public relations and strategic partnership with various healthcare organizations,” said John Veilleux. VP for marketing and communications.

Texas Wesleyan has a strong reputation in graduating health professionals with the anesthesia and counseling programs, Henderson said. The nurse anesthesia program is the largest in the U.S. with more than 120 students serving 1,500 clients in the Tarrant County area.

Taylor has over 26 years of experience in higher education, and has served as the founding dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at West Texas A&M University, according to txwes.edu. She is a board-certified nurse coach and holistic nurse.

“Ultimately we hope to take a strong thread of students and increase their knowledge in both taking great care of others, but themselves as well,” Taylor said.