Campus: CSU San Marcos -- December 19, 2003

Cal State San Marcos Launches Nursing Degree Program with Assistance from Palomar Pomerado Health

In an effort to meet a significant regional need, California State University San Marcos plans to launch a new bachelor’s degree (BSN) program in nursing with assistance from Palomar Pomerado Health, and other local health care providers.

Palomar Pomerado Health, the largest public hospital district in California, has donated $150,000 to Cal State San Marcos to jump start the program. The announcement was made today, December 18, 2003, by Roy McTarnaghan, interim president of Cal State San Marcos during a press conference on campus.

The seed money will allow the university to hire an experienced nursing consultant to lay the groundwork for the BSN degree program, which should begin accepting students by the fall of 2006. Additional support of the new program has been pledged by Tri-City Medical Center.

“Today’s announcement,” said McTarnaghan, “represents the development of a significant partnership between the university and the region’s leading health-care providers. Together, we are addressing the critical need for nurses in our community.”

As of 2001, there were approximately 700 nursing vacancies in the San Diego region. According to the 2002 San Diego County Occupational Outlook, San Diego County will experience an 18 percent increase in the need for nurses by 2006.

“We are hoping that the culmination of the last years' work between PPH and Cal State San Marcos will result in starting the BSN program two years earlier than previously anticipated, with students graduating in 2008 as opposed to 2010," said Nancy L. Bassett, RN, Palomar Pomerado Health board of directors. "This is an exciting opportunity that is a win-win situation, not just for the health district and the university, but for the community as a whole.”

“Locally, academic programs in nursing are impacted, with students waiting up to three years to enroll,” explained McTarnaghan. “We want to get this program up and running as fast as possible in order to offer students an effective and relevant program and to get them working in our area hospitals.”

Traditionally, approximately 90 percent of Cal State San Marcos graduates remain in the region and enter the local workforce after graduation.

The nursing consultant, who will come onboard in January 2004, will work with a committee of university faculty and academic administrators to develop the program. The final program and curriculum description must then be approved by the California State University chancellor’s office. In the first year of the nursing program, the university expects to enroll approximately 64 students. In 2007, that number should increase to almost 190. Eventually, according to the university’s Academic Blueprint, the program should be able to support more than 280 students each year training in a variety of specialty areas, including acute care and gerontology.

Palomar Pomerado Health’s mission is to “Heal, comfort, and promote health in the communities we serve.” PPH is the largest public hospital district in California, covering nearly 800 square miles in Inland North County. Palomar Pomerado includes the 319-bed Palomar Medical Center, 107-bed Pomerado Hospital, two skilled nursing facilities, five health centers, a surgery center, home health program, physician referral service, and wellness classes.

Contact: Paige Jennings, 760/750-4048;

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