Directors of nursing programs at area colleges and universities listen as Capt. David Allen explains the benefits of becoming an Army nurse officer.

Army Options

ROTC offers nursing education opportunities

April 23, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

The road to becoming a nurse has several lanes, including Cal State Fullerton’s graduate programs and the Army Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) scholarship path.

At a recent meeting with directors of nursing programs from area colleges and universities, Capt. David Allen, the brigade nurse who oversees CSUF’s battalion, outlined the benefits of the career.

“We’re more than just a war-fighting machine,” he said about the Army. “We offer scholarships to students who want to become nurses and officers, and we prepare them to be leaders.”

He said that like the rest of the country, the Army is facing a nursing shortage and training new nurses is important, especially during wartime and as veterans age and become ill and frail.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that by 2020, hospitals nationwide will need nearly 810,000 nurses. That number represents a 29 percent vacancy rate, more than tripling today’s vacancy rate of 7 percent.

Allen said Army nurses can be deployed to work in such places as Iraq, but many work in Army hospitals throughout the country. Allen told the audience that he worked as a nurse in Iraq, where he took care of wounded soldiers.

“There’s nothing better than an experience like that — nursing soldiers who volunteered to serve our country so that they could go home and take care of their families,” Allen said.

He added that in order for students to enter active duty, they must first complete their bachelor of science degree in nursing and pass their board exams. The Army foots their college costs.

Besides becoming nurse officers in the Army, students who wish to become nurses outside of the military can choose to study in the following programs at CSUF:
  • A new pathway to the bachelor’s degree in nursing is being developed. The four-year program will prepare students for licensure as registered nurses and the bachelor of science in nursing. Students are being admitted as pre-nursing majors now and 40 students will be selected as nursing majors by spring, 2008.
  • The university offers an RN to B.S.N. degree for students who already are registered nurses.
  • Cal State Fullerton’s new master of science degree in nursing is designed for students with non-nursing baccalaureate degrees. The “entry-level” master’s program provides coursework and clinical experiences needed to qualify students for licensure as an RN and awards an M.S.N.
  • The master’s in nursing degree offers five concentrations: nursing administration/leadership, nurse anesthetist, family nurse practitioner, women’s healthcare and school nursing.
For more information about Cal State Fullerton’s nursing programs, visit, and for more information about the ROTC nursing program, visit
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