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Move for nursing doctorate at CSU gains momentum

POSTED June 27, 2009 4:58 p.m.
The push for instituting a doctorate program in Nursing at the California State University campuses moved one step closer to realization earlier this month when the State Assembly overwhelmingly passed the needed bill.
The bill, AB867, was drafted to address the serious shortfall in nursing faculty that has led to a cap on most nursing programs, which in turn, has seen multitudes of qualified nursing candidates wait-listed or denied admission into a program.
“The major driver behind this legislation is to increase capacity at nursing schools to help address the nursing shortage,” said CSU spokesperson Clara Potes-Fellow.
Close to 70 percent of nursing programs across the nation have reported rejecting or wait-listing students because they do not have qualified educators to lead the classes.
“The health, and often the lives of patients, rest in the hands of well-trained nurses,” said Beatrice Yorker, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at CSU Los Angeles. “The growing nursing shortage is a health crisis that, if allowed to continue unchecked, will affect the future quality of care provided throughout California.”
The bill is currently being debated in the State Senate. If approved it will be the first degree program of its kind offered by a public institution. Only three universities in the state offer the program now and all are private schools.
“The nation’s largest public university is being put to work in helping to solve the state’s nursing shortage,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “Throughout the state, the CSU is already training nurses at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Our nursing faculty have doctoral degrees, clinical expertise, and strengths in teaching and curriculum development, that uniquely positions the CSU to develop top quality campus programs to produce the nurse educators.”
The CSU system as a whole graduates 2,471 nurses at the master’s and bachelor’s levels every year. If the bill gets Senate approval the Doctor of Nursing program would likely be offered at two or three of the CSU campuses initially and expand to other locations as it grows, Potes-Fellow said.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, California’s nursing shortage is estimated to reach 40,000 over the next decade. The U.S. Bureau of Health professionals project that within 10 years, the nation’s nursing shortage will exceed one million.
The Doctor of Nursing program would be the second doctoral degree independently granted by the CSU. The first was a doctorate in Education.
To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.
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