Campus: East Bay -- February 10, 2006

Cal State East Bay's Concord Campus Announces Four-Year Nursing Degree Program

A bachelor of science degree in nursing will be offered for the first time by the Concord Campus of California State University, East Bay starting with the fall of 2006 academic quarter.

The first cohort for that program will be made up of sophomores. It is for students from Contra Costa County who will have already taken their freshman year of pre-nursing studies at Cal State East Bay's Hayward campus or at a community college.

However, beginning in the fall of 2007, freshman will be able to take their pre-nursing coursework and follow that with three years of the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) curriculum-all at the Concord Campus.

This program marks the start of an expanded role for the Concord Campus in serving the Contra Costa County region. A branch campus such as Concord will normally offer courses and programs only at the upper-division and/or graduate levels. However, the California Postsecondary Commission (CPEC) allows for the offering of lower-division courses under certain circumstances, in collaboration with a community college, or by special permission of the commission.

Exceptional circumstances can include unusual instances in which the community college located near a CSU branch campus is unable to offer course work in a timely fashion required for transfer or in which demand for a given program of study exceeds available capacity within the college.

A shortage of nurses has long been a chronic issue for the county. Area community colleges are unable to provide enough space for qualified applicants in their RN programs. Obstacles for expansion of nursing programs include lack of classroom and skills lab space, lack of clinical facilities, and lack of nursing instructors.

In addition, there are no public pre-licensure bachelor of science in nursing degree programs in the county. Not only is there a desperate need for additional registered nurses, the County also needs baccalaureate prepared nurses as leaders for the challenges and changes necessary in health care delivery.

The university is addressing this crisis through the implementation of its accredited and highly successful pre-licensure BSN program-currently offered only at the Hayward campus-at its Concord campus. It is supported in part by a recent $1.7 million grant from John Muir Health.

Currently the Concord Campus provides the "RN to BSN" program, which provides an opportunity for registered nurses to continue their education leading to a bachelor's degree. The pre-licensure BSN program integrates the applied and academic studies throughout the program, with graduates able to earn their RN, public health certificate, and bachelor's degree simultaneously.

"I look forward to collaborating with John Muir Health in pursuit of tomorrow's leaders in nursing," said Carolyn Fong, chair of Cal State East Bay's Nursing Department. "They are visionary in perceiving future health care needs of Contra Costa County."

The program will begin the nursing curriculum in fall 2006 with students from Contra Costa County who have already taken their pre-nursing freshman year of study at the Hayward campus or a community college.

At the same time it will recruit a group of freshman to begin the pre-nursing curriculum in fall 2007. The program will be cohort-based (the group goes through the program together) as is the program at the Hayward Campus. The objective will be to eventually have three cohorts of 20 students each (for a total of 60) at the sophomore, junior and senior years of study.

"We are most appreciative to John Muir Health for their tremendous contribution by significantly improving the availability of educational opportunities for tomorrow's nurses," said Peter Wilson, dean of the Concord Campus of Cal State East Bay. "We hope to develop additional partnerships with other area medical facilities to grow the program even larger."

Contact: Barbara Cella, Dir. of Communications, Concord Campus, (925) 602-6772, barbara.cella@csueastbay.edu


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