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WSU Nurse Practitioners Will See You Now

Shelby Pitts AS ’12, BS ’13, MSNP ’18 has worked in healthcare since she was 14. “My dad was a local physician. He said I had an ‘attitude’ and insisted I get a job,” she said, laughing. “No one would hire me, of course, because I was 14, so he said, ‘You’ll just have to come work for me.’” Little did she know that a job she “had to do” would become a job she “loved to do.”

When Pitts enrolled at Weber State as an undergraduate, her goal was to become a nurse. She earned an associate’s, then a bachelor’s a year later. It didn’t take long to realize she wanted more. “I wanted more authority — authority that would allow me to do more for my patients,” she said. 

As Pitts began to look at nurse practitioner programs, she knew she wanted a hands-on experience, which ruled out many online programs, and she didn’t want to drive to the University of Utah, the closest program that offered what she wanted. When she discovered that Weber was going to offer a nurse practitioner degree, it was a natural fit. 

“It was an honor to get into the program,” said Pitts, who was one of 23 students accepted into the program out of 100+ applicants. 

The first cohort of nurse practitioners graduated in April 2018. Pitts is now a family nurse practitioner at the Ogden Clinic Skyline office. 

“I love people, and I love medicine. I have the best of both worlds,” she said. “My professors, my providers, my family have pushed me further than I ever knew I could go. I know I’m not alone in this.”

A New Addition

Weber State is adding a new facility for healthcare education in 2018 — the Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. & Katherine W. Dumke Center for Interprofessional Education in Healthcare. The 15,000-square-foot, $5 million structure will have four classrooms, 19 offices and two seminar rooms where students can collaborate with faculty and other healthcare professionals, and see how care is delivered in a medical setting. 


The number of students who were accepted into the nurse practitioner program for fall 2018


The number of individuals who applied for the program for fall 2018


The number of students in the Pre-Physician Assistant Program (pre-PA), which prepares students for studies in the growing field.

From now until 2026, employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 37 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “We are excited about the future of this program, and the opportunity to possibly expand it, because we know how much it will impact the university and the community,” said Kenton Cummins AS ’12, BS ’13, MHA ’18, advisor for the pre-PA program and medical laboratory sciences assistant professor.

Military Collaboration

A new partnership makes it easier for enlisted medical personnel to apply their military training toward a Weber State degree.

The Medical Education & Training Campus (METC), located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, educates 16,500 troops yearly. Enlisted personnel from every military branch study in 50 different medical specialties.

Weber State is one of only a handful of schools in the western United States certified with a degree bridging program. METC students can transition military training into one of 16 programs in the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions.

Full Circle

The story of Weber State University’s acclaimed nursing program is intertwined with the family history of Thomas D. Dee and his wife, Annie Taylor Dee. After losing her 20-year-old son, Thomas Reese, in 1894 to a ruptured appendix, and her husband 11 years later to pneumonia, Annie resolved to build a hospital for the Ogden community.

In 1910, Annie formally presented the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital to the people of Ogden. The facility became a training ground for nurses, and in 1932, aligned its course work with Weber College.

More than 8½ decades later, Weber State University’s School of Nursing officially became the Annie Taylor Dee School of Nursing. The renaming symbolically brings to full circle Annie’s passionate commitment to nursing education and her family’s time-honored association with the university.

Set Apart

If you live in Utah and have ever had a CT scan, an MRI, an ultrasound or other medical imaging test, chances are you’ve been seen by a Weber State radiologic sciences alumnus or student. The program is one of Weber State’s most popular, graduating close to 1,200 students in the past five years, many of whom work in Utah communities but many who also who work across the U.S., even for NASA.

To better represent the large number of students enrolled in the program, the Department of Radiologic Sciences became the School of Radiologic Sciences in 2017, a change that, according to chair Robert Walker BS ’82, “improves students’ professional identities and better defines their education to potential employers.”