Sac State Torchlight

University kicks off The Campaign for Nursing

Nursing professor and Folsom Hall donor Brenda Hanson-Smith (right) leads students through a labor and delivery scenario in the new birthing simulation laboratory.

Nursing professor and Folsom Hall donor Brenda Hanson-Smith (right)
leads students through a labor and delivery scenario in the new birthing simulation laboratory.

For more than five decades the School of Nursing has cared for the health and well-being of the Sacramento area, with more than half of our graduates living and working in the immediate region. This fall, the University added one more accomplishment to nursing’s history: It became the first-ever Sacramento State program to launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign.
President Alexander Gonzalez announced in late September the $1.8 million effort for the School of Nursing and its new home, Folsom Hall. The campaign will fund enhancements that provide an optimal learning environment for the next generation of nurses—“smart” classrooms, numerous simulation laboratories featuring high-tech equipment, and study lounges.
“The teaching equipment funded by the campaign will allow faculty in the School of Nursing to build on their legacy of excellence in educating nurses for California,” says Gonzalez. ”Changing demographics indicate that health care will only grow in importance in the years to come, and I know that our dedicated faculty will be ready to meet the needs of our state.”
Initially catalyzed by a $500,000 gift from The Frank M. and Gertrude R. Doyle Foundation and a pledge to match the gift by The University Foundation at Sacramento State, the campaign has already successfully raised $1.4 million toward its goal. In September, the School of Nursing received a $300,000 boost from Catholic Healthcare West to fund state-of-the-art-equipment.
Donors, including Western Health Advantage, Herzog Surgical, Sierra Health Foundation, members of the University Foundation Board, several current and former faculty members, and alumni, have committed support toward rooms, labs and other essential equipment.
“I see the success of the campaign thus far as an enormous vote of confidence from the community in the work we are doing,” Gonzalez says. “The teaching equipment funded by the campaign will allow faculty in the School of Nursing to build on its legacy of excellence in educating nurses for California.”
The School’s move to Folsom Hall earlier this year was paramount to the program’s growth. It increased the amount of classroom and laboratory space available for student use—from 10,000 to 60,000 square feet—and boosted the number of high-fidelity simulation laboratories from two to seven, allowing the University to graduate more nursing students while providing an even greater level of education.
“The new space also promotes an environment that supports communication and collaboration, and enhances our faculty’s ability to conduct multidisciplinary research and serve the community,” says Fred Baldini, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Baldini says the move and the campaign are essential to the University’s commitment to advance nursing education and the resulting improvement to the quality of health care.
“At the core is our ability to recruit and retain first-rate faculty who will prepare our students for real-world situations with an innovative curriculum incorporating simulation labs in our state-of-the-art facility in Folsom Hall,” he says.
In the program’s first 50 years, it graduated more than 5,200 nurses and graduates have a nearly 100 percent passage rate on the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s licensure examination. There is an immediate need for their services: Studies show California can expect a shortage of 12,000 registered nurses by 2014, which could have a devastating impact on our region’s health care services.
“The majority of our graduates (53 percent) remain in the Sacramento region and 85 percent reside in California,” says School of Nursing Chair Carolynn Goetze. “They are clinicians, advocates, researchers and educators who enjoy an outstanding reputation among employers, patients and the community. Undoubtedly, the Sacramento State School of Nursing has a significant impact on health care in Sacramento and beyond.”
The program has also had meaningful impact on its graduates. As students saw the investments made early in the campaign, they began an internal movement for support and a “class gift” program emerged. 
“We saw the names of supporters on different doors in the new nursing facility and thought it would be great if our name was on one of them,” says Scott Cheshire (’11, Nursing) who credits classmate Elaine Henderson (‘11, Nursing) with the idea.
This fall, nursing alumni will reach out to each other to ask for support of the School of Nursing. Dozens of graduates have contributed—including a special group pledge of $10,000 from Cheshire, Henderson and their peers in the Class of 2011.
“Our class was heavily involved in community activities, and this is just sort of a natural extension for us,” Henderson says. “We love the School of Nursing and the opportunity it afforded us.”