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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

February 04, 2004

Partnership aims to boost nursing ranks

This spring, five students who have remained with a new nursing program during its entirety are graduating from CSUS. The future nurses are part of a collaboration that requires them to start their education at Sacramento City College and finish at CSUS.

Nursing division chair Robyn Nelson says that although CSUS isn’t the first school to consider implementing such a program, “We’re the first in the state to have it happen. Others look at it as a model to how nurses are prepared in California. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

According to the California Board of Registered Nursing, 303,608 people are registered nurses. However the state is looking for more men and women enthusiastic about entering the nursing field, Nelson says. “California is enforcing mandated ratios, or the number of patients to licensed nurses.” For example, she explains, the ratio in critical care is one patient to one nurse. For those working in medical surgical areas, the ratio is six patients to one nurse.

Nelson says that currently, 70 percent of all registered nurses receive their associate degree, but not their bachelor of science degree. “But there’s a great demand for more university graduates,” Nelson says. In this particular program, the five people will receive both their associate and bachelor’s degrees.

Approximately 880 students, both undergraduate and graduate, are nursing majors at CSUS. Fifty-five students are admitted each semester. In order to meet the demand and also maintain the quality of education, Nelson and the director of nursing at Sacramento City College designed a collaboration between the two schools.

Nelson says it was very important to her that the two schools could offer students a seamless transition from the community college to the CSU system. “We didn’t want them to lose any time. Sac State and Sac City had to agree on what to teach.” She says it is tricky to organize because not only does the program have to be accredited by the state, the Board of Nursing must certify the curriculum.

Jennifer Pamplona, who wants to work in labor delivery, says that she joined the program out of necessity. When she applied to the University, she was placed on a waiting list because the program was impacted. The division of nursing asked if she would be interested in joining its new program.

Pamplona says the five people in her group have become very loyal to each other and their work. They enroll in all their nursing classes together and are completing their senior project as a group. “We’ve become a family. The five of us were our own group. We keep tabs on each other.”

Sierra Health Foundation played a large role in implementing the pilot curriculum. The private philanthropic organization supports health and health-related activities in a 26-county region of Northern California. It provided $2,500 scholarships to each student in the pilot project.


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •