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Governor’s Signature Gives Nursing Pilot Program Permanence

Doctoral Program to Add New Concentration
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With the recent signing of Assembly Bill 422, Gov. Jerry Brown has not only allowed the five-year pilot program offered by the Southern California CSU DNP Consortium — representing CSU campuses Fullerton, Long Beach and Los Angeles — to continue, but also allowed for all CSU campuses to establish Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs.

Within the Southern California CSU DNP Consortium, the program will expand with the addition of a new concentration: nurse anesthesia. The CSUF School of Nursing currently offers a concentration in nurse anesthesia as part of the master’s degree program. That program will be phased out to meet the new requirements of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia to transition to the doctoral level.

“The California State University is committed to addressing workforce needs and the DNP does this both for advanced nursing care and for the preparation of nursing faculty, which is needed to address the state’s nursing shortage,” said Penny Weismuller, professor of nursing and director of the DNP program at CSUF. “The bill is good for the state, as research has shown that nurses prepared at graduate levels result in better patient outcomes.

“DNP graduates are poised to work with other doctorally prepared health professionals to bring best evidence into practice,” she added.

The DNP effort was launched in 2012 and saw its first class of 28 graduate in 2014. Since then, 72 more have earned the doctorate and are working throughout the state, including as professors on CSU campuses.

The DNP with a concentration in nurse anesthesia will be offered beginning next fall.

“Certified registered nurse anesthetists fill an important workforce need in healthcare by increasing patient access to safe anesthesia services,” said Stephanie Vaughn, director of the CSUF School of Nursing in the College of Health and Human Development. “Students in the concentration will complete doctoral coursework and will have extensive clinical practice in anesthesia in collaboration with the Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia.”