|Gift to support a plan for a
post-baccalaureate, pre-licensure program for students who wish to
become nurses while pursuing a master’s degree in the field.
November 10, 2005
By Valerie Orleans
Since 1975, Cal State Fullerton has provided
advanced education to thousands of registered nurses. But
with the development of a proposed program, the university will,
for the first time, be able to add new nurses to the workforce.
Kaiser Permanente recently presented a $300,000 check
to the Department
of Nursing supporting a plan for a post-baccalaureate, pre-licensure
program for students who wish to become nurses while pursuing a
master’s degree in the field. The initial focus will be directed
toward students with a bachelor’s degree in another field.
“This is different than the programs we currently
offer in that these students, who will have a bachelor’s degree,
are not RNs [registered nurses],” said Paula Herberg, chair
and associate professor of nursing. “These are students who
want to become RNs and pursue a master’s degree at the same
Currently, all students opting for bachelor’s
or master’s degrees in nursing from Cal State Fullerton already
possess RN licensure.
Eventually, the program will be expanded to allow
students without any previous degrees to study for the RN licensure
concurrently with a bachelor’s degree.
The need for more nurses, especially those with advanced
degrees, is pressing, said Herberg. As the population ages, this
need will continue to grow, she said, noting that according to the
California Employment Development Department, the state will need
an additional 109,600 registered nurses to meet demands for nursing
care and to replace nurses close to retirement. Local Orange County
hospitals have expressed a need for more nurses educated to the
bachelor’s level or higher to handle the complex needs of
today’s patients, Herberg added.
As a first step, the university hopes to develop
an accelerated program for post-baccalaureate students that would
take 18 to 24 months to complete RN licensure requirements and an
additional year to complete the master’s degree.
The Kaiser Permanente funding will assist Cal State
Fullerton to develop such a program, said Herberg. A planning director/faculty
team will meet to develop policies and procedures, as well as the
total curriculum package, including the identification of clinical
placement sites for students to receive hands-on practical experiences.
As part of the planning, the university, with the
support of Kaiser Permanente, will develop a “skills laboratory,”
that is, a facility that replicates a hospital environment, she
noted. In this skills laboratory, students can practice many of
the skills and techniques they will need as nurses.
“We are grateful for Kaiser Permanente’s
support,” said Roberta Rikli, dean of the College of Health
and Human Development. “Our state is experiencing a severe
nursing shortage. Most schools can’t keep up with the demand.
Currently, about 40 percent of those applying to
California’s nursing schools are turned away because schools
are filled to capacity. Being able to educate more students in a
shorter period of time provides benefits to everyone: students,
hospitals and the university. Kaiser Permanente’s willingness
to help us develop a much-needed program is greatly appreciated.”
“We realize that nurses and the quality of
care they provide make a great difference in the health care received
by patients,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, CEO, Kaiser Permanente,
Orange County. “This gift represents a long-term partnership
we hope to develop with Cal State Fullerton’s Nursing Department.”
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