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Barbara Doyer, lecturer in nursing and CSUF's nursing simulation laboratory coordinator, points out equipment functions in the lab. Photo by Kelly Lacefield.

Supporting Nurse Scholars

Foundation Awards $200,000 for CSUF Nursing Scholarships

August 11, 2009

By Mimi Ko Cruz

Twenty students in Cal State Fullerton's accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs will receive $10,000 scholarships, thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program helps nursing students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds. Nursing students have until Sept. 1 to apply for a scholarship.

As part of the award, the 20 recipients will participate in a variety of leadership activities on campus, said Mary Wickman, director of Cal State Fullerton's pre-licensure RN program.

"The cost of educating nurses is considerably greater than the cost of educating other, non-nursing students, due to heavy lab/clinical requirements and small class size," she said. "The ‘gap’ between the actual cost to educate nurses and the amount that the campus receives in state support and fee revenue is $5,540 per student, per year. To expand capacity, the university must raise external, supplemental funds to pay for expenses not covered by core state funding."

Launched by RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the national initiative aims to alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of nursing students and nursing educators in accelerated programs and increasing the diversity of nursing professionals.

The $10,000 scholarships "will allow students, many of whom have families and financial obligations, to concentrate on their studies," Wickman said. "The loss of work income that accompanies enrollment in a full-time nursing program often presents a difficult hurdle to enrollment and completion. The scholarships are expected to improve retention of students at risk of dropping out due to factors related to financial hardship."

Students from underrepresented groups are being targeted because, according to the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice, diversifying the nursing profession is essential to meeting the health care needs of the nation and reducing health disparities that exist among many underserved populations.

Wickman will conduct a 2 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 13, information session in Room 199 of the Kinesiology and Health Science Building for students interested in applying for the scholarships.

Nursing History

The Nursing Department, in the College of Health and Human Development, was created in 1974 in response to the need for nursing education in Orange County. Enrolling more than 700 students, the department offers a bachelor of science in nursing (RN to BSN completion); an accelerated associate degree to master’s degree program (ADN to MSN); and a master of science degree with concentrations in family nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nursing administration/leadership, women’s health care and school nursing. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the pre-licensure programs also are accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Cal State Fullerton created the entry-level MSN (2007) and BSN pre-licensure (2008) pathways in response to the nationwide nursing shortage of up to one million nurses over the next decade. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, California’s share of that shortage will be more than 40,000 full-time-equivalent nurses. At the same time, a serious shortfall in nursing faculty is forcing nursing schools to wait-list or deny admission to thousands of qualified applicants annually. On June 3, the California Assembly overwhelmingly approved AB 867, authorizing the California State University to offer a doctorate degree program in nursing practice. The bill now goes to the State Senate.

Partner Support

The university's Nursing Department partners with a number of hospitals and a joint family nurse practitioner master’s program at UC Irvine. Cal State Fullerton also offers a statewide BSN distance program and a nurse anesthesia MSN concentration with the Kaiser Permanente health system, as well as BSN distance contracts with 11 other hospitals and Riverside Community College.

Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach awarded CSUF a $100,000 grant in 2004. Kaiser Permanente provided $300,000 to plan and develop the EL-MSN program and an additional $208,000 to support the nursing simulation center on campus.

St. Jude Medical Center is a clinical agency partner for ongoing faculty collaborative projects in conjunction with the new EL-MSN program.

For more information about the university's nursing programs, visit



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