New Nursing School to Help Address Shortage of Nurses in Valley

Courtesy of Knapp Medical Center

New RN school to operate on the campuses of Knapp Medical Center, Harlingen Medical Center and Mission Regional Medical Center

Weslaco / Harlingen / Mission
– A new nursing school for Prime Healthcare hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley has received unanimous approval from the Texas Board of Nursing and will help to address a shortage of nurses in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Texas School of Health Sciences will offer an intensive, fast-track Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing program, which will be headquartered on the campus of Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, while also providing clinical experiences at Harlingen Medical Center and at Mission Regional Medical Center.

The nursing school will provide a new, intensive in-hospital model for training students to become clinically proficient registered nurses. Students will complete an 18-month, 40-hour-per-week immersion program, which will prepare them to sit for the National Council Licensure Nursing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Upon graduation and passing the exam, students will be eligible for employment as a full-time RN at one of the three Prime Healthcare hospitals in the Valley.  The three Prime hospitals – Knapp Medical Center, Harlingen Medical Center, and Mission Regional Medical Center – have been serving their communities for several decades and were the only three hospitals in the Valley to receive an “A” grade for patient safety in the most recent hospital safety ratings by the Leapfrog Group.

The goal of the new partnership between Prime Healthcare and the Texas School of Health Sciences is to address the need for additional RNs in the Rio Grande Valley by offering a comprehensive academic program — focused on hands-on learning in the hospital setting — which graduates high-quality nurses who will care for patients in the local area.

“This new hospital-based degree program is unique to the state of Texas and the nation,” said Kyle Hunt, president of the Texas School of Health Sciences (TSHS).

“At TSHS, we understand that a college degree is expensive,” Mr. Hunt added.  “That’s why the TSHS program will forgive tuition for students who successfully complete the program, pass the NCLEX-RN, and work for a Prime RGV hospital for 36 months after graduation.”

“By investing in the future of healthcare through fully-subsidized tuition for qualified aspiring RNs, our hospitals not only cultivate a skilled and compassionate workforce, but also nurture a healthier society for generations to come,” said Kathleen Avila, Regional Director for Business Development for Prime Healthcare.

The new nursing school also recently received a Certificate of Authority from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and hopes to begin classes this fall.  For more information on the new school, please visit, call 956-907-TSHS (956-907-8747) or email [email protected].

ABOUT Prime Healthcare and Prime Healthcare Foundation

Prime Healthcare is an award-winning national hospital system with 45 acute-care hospitals and more than 300 outpatient locations providing nearly 40,000 jobs in 14 states. Fourteen of the hospitals are not-for-profit and members of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity. Based in California and one of the largest hospital systems in the country, Prime Healthcare is committed to ensuring access to quality healthcare. Prime Healthcare and its hospitals have been recognized as among the “100 Top Hospitals” in the nation 66 times and among the “15 Top Health Systems” three times. For more information, please visit



Knapp Medical Center is an award-winning, not-for-profit hospital in Weslaco, Texas.  With 227 beds, the community hospital specializes in emergency care, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, wound care, surgery, cardiology, gastroenterology, critical care, and interventional radiology.  Knapp serves as the only acute care hospital in the Mid-Valley area, as well as Weslaco’s only Advanced Primary Stroke Center and Level II Newborn Nursery. For more information, please call 956-968-8567 or visit


ABOUT Harlingen Medical Center

Harlingen Medical Center is a nationally recognized and award-winning general acute care hospital. The Level IV Trauma Designated hospital specializes in imaging, bariatrics, cardiovascular, orthopedics, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, obstetrics and gynecology, and wound healing care. Our concept of “Patient Focused Care” puts you, the patient, first! The design, management, staffing, and operation of our hospital are focused on your needs and overall comfort. For more information, please call (956) 365-1000 or visit



Mission Regional Medical Center is a 297-bed non-profit hospital which provides inpatient and outpatient hospital services to the people of the Rio Grande Valley.  Rated one of the top hospitals in the country for clinical excellence in many services, including orthopedics and maternity care, Mission Regional Medical Center has been offering quality health care, close to home, for more than 65 years.  For more information, please call (956) 323-9000 or visit .