March 2, 2006
by Mimi Ko Cruz
Cal State Fullerton is finalizing plans for
a new advanced degree in nursing
program designed for students with non-nursing baccalaureate
The "entry-level" master's program provides
coursework and clinical experiences needed to qualify students
for licensure as a registered nurse (RN) and awards a master
of science degree in nursing (MSN).
Applications for the program are being accepted
with plans to admit 60 students on a "conditional" basis
in the fall. The students will be able to take required prerequisite
courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry,
English, speech, statistics, critical thinking, psychology
and sociology or cultural anthropology, said Mary Wickman,
the program's planning director.
Wickman, hired last month to head the program,
directed the RN program at Santa Ana College, where she worked
for 15 years. She also served as chair of the nursing department
at Mount St. Mary's College. She has a doctorate in nursing
CSUF's MSN program will be on an accelerated
track, Wickman said.
Initially, the degree will be directed toward
students who want to study nursing but have bachelor degrees
in other fields, she said. Presently, all nursing students
pursuing bachelor or master's degrees from CSUF already possess
Development of the new program was made possible
by a $300,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente. Eventually, Wickman
said, the program will be expanded to offer a pre-licensure
baccalaureate degree in nursing.
"This accelerated, or innovative, RN to MSN
program should be beneficial not only to students but also
to the community at large, especially as the baby boomers
are aging and demanding more healthcare services," said Roberta
Rikli, dean of the College
of Health and Human Development.
"The state of California and Orange County
are in the midst of a severe nursing shortage," Wickman said. "Conservative
estimates suggest that Orange County will need 800 new RNs
per year for the next 10 years.
"Our accelerated MSN program will produce
advanced degree graduates who are prepared to meet the community
need for nurses, who are able to assume clinical leadership
in all health-care settings and are prepared to implement
evidence-based research, outcomes-based practice and quality
CSUF's accelerated pre-licensure program is
the first of its kind offered in any accredited college or
university in Orange County, Wickman said.
Other California campuses that offer an accelerated
MSN program include Azusa Pacific University, Cal State Los
Angeles, Samuel Merritt College, San Francisco State University,
UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, Western University of Health
Sciences and Sonoma State University.
It is anticipated that it will take students
18 months to complete the pre-licensure course work and another
15 to 18 months to complete the MSN degree.
Wickman said plans to build a high-tech skills
lab are in progress. The lab, once ready, will contain an
estimated $250,000 worth of computer programs and audiovisual
materials that will allow nursing students to practice skills
in a simulated patient-care environment, she said.
"Having a nurse with an advanced degree and
able to look at the care of the patient from a more global
perspective is beneficial to the public," Wickman said.
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