To increase the number of nurses in Northern California and help alleviate a nursing shortage, the Enloe Foundation has given California State University, Chico's School of Nursing approximately $200,000 to add students to its program.
The funds will allow the school to hire an additional clinical faculty member. With the increased faculty, the school will be able to add 20 students to the program in the 2000-2001 academic year.
To commemorate the Foundation gift, representatives from the Enloe Foundation and Health System and CSU, Chico will meet with the media Wednesday, July 26, at 11 a. m. at the Enloe Conference Center. Phil Wolfe, president/CEO of Enloe Health System, and Manuel A. Esteban, president of CSU, Chico, are among those who will attend.
The Chico-based foundation took the action to make the gift June 7. It was proposed by Wolfe and Dan Neumeister, COO of Enloe Medical Center.
"As in many other parts of the country, Enloe Medical Center found that it needed to work with local universities and colleges to expand nursing programs so that more students can become nurses," said Neumeister. "This is truly an excellent opportunity for CSU as well as Enloe Medical Center and we are thankful that Enloe Foundation realizes how important this project is."
"This is a win-win for CSU, Chico and Enloe," said Roger Lederer, dean of the College of Natural Sciences, which includes the School of Nursing. "We are pleased to be able to increase the number of students in our program, and Enloe has an opportunity to draw from that pool of nurses."
Sherry Fox, director of the School of Nursing, said roughly half the nurses at Enloe are graduates of CSU, Chico's program. She said exit surveys of graduating nursing students have shown that half the students wish to stay in the Chico area.
Fox said studies predict an additional 26,000 nurses will be needed in California in three years. A growing state population, along with increasing demands for nurses, are responsible for the situation. "The shortage is becoming critical - it's becoming a public health crisis," Fox said. "While the shortage is nationwide, it's particularly severe in California, which only produces about half the nurses it needs."
Fox said budget cutbacks in the early 1990s reduced the CSU, Chico nursing school enrollment from 80 students to 60 students, where it stands now. The Enloe gift will re-establish the school to full enrollment at 80 students. "We're getting back to full capacity, when the state really needs that capacity," said Fox. "It's very valuable that the private sector, such as Enloe, has stepped in to create these partnerships."
The Enloe Foundation gift is the second gift this year for the School of Nursing designed to address the nursing shortage. Sacramento-based Sierra Health Foundation gave the school $100,000 in March for a scholarship program for nursing students in Northern California. Eight nursing students over the next six years will receive the scholarships, starting with students admitted to the fall 2000 class.
CSU, Chico's School of Nursing offers a baccalaureate in nursing and a master's of science in nursing program. Baccalaureate students are chosen each semester out of an applicant pool of approximately 100.
The CSU, Chico nursing program was the first baccalaureate program in the state university system to achieve National League for Nursing accreditation. It is also accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing.
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