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Campus Establishes Streamlined Pathway to Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

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In a move to increase the number of nurses entering the workforce and to increase the diversity of that workforce, Cal State Fullerton and its sister campus Cal State San Bernardino have signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Riverside City College (RCC) to create pathways from the associate degree in nursing to a bachelor of science in nursing.

“We view this as a model that can be used to integrate community college and California State University campuses across the state in the preparation of nurses,” said Stephanie Vaughn, director of the School of Nursing at Cal State Fullerton. “The more bachelor of science-prepared nurses in a facility, the better the patient outcomes.”

“Inland Southern California is experiencing a surge in its economy and population as the region veers into a public health crisis. We need to ensure we have the healthcare infrastructure in place to meet the looming needs,” said Sen. Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside). “This innovative pilot program addresses that need by driving more bachelor’s degree nurses into medically underserved regions like Inland Southern California, delivering health care where it is needed most.”

The need for skilled registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These agreements offer a streamlined, efficient and seamless pathway for RCC students to earn the associate degree in nursing and advance toward a high-quality bachelor’s degree from either Fullerton or San Bernardino, said Penny Weismuller, professor of nursing and a member of the task force that helped develop the agreement.

The agreement formalizes a plan for a dual-enrollment cohort program that is associated with greater retention and completion, she explained. And community college students will earn their bachelor’s degrees in the same span of time as students who enter the CSU as freshmen — four years, added Weismuller.

Students will apply to the program while attending RCC — where they will take all preparation for nursing licensure, lower-division general education, and meet the requirements for the associate degree. The final year of the program will be centered on either the Fullerton or San Bernardino campuses for completion of the bachelor’s degree.

Cal State Fullerton has been advancing nursing education in Southern California for more than 40 years, offering a highly competitive, diverse program from the bachelor’s degree to the doctorate in nursing. Graduate programs have been top ranked in the nation and offer specializations in leadership education, school nursing, women’s health care – midwifery.

The MOUs also establish procedures for program governance, admission procedures, operation of student financial aid, as well as sharing of classroom and other resources, such as simulation labs and libraries.

More information on Cal State Fullerton’s School of Nursing and its programs can be found here.