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COM Joins Forces to Support Advanced Nursing Degrees

Chancellor grant will help collaboration of 5 community colleges and Sonoma State to increase nursing bachelor and master degrees

KENTFIELD, Calif.—June 16, 2008—Thanks to a $100,000 Community College Chancellor grant, College of Marin and four other North Bay community colleges are clearing away obstacles that inhibit the advancement of critically needed leaders and educators in the nursing field.

Hospitals need people in leadership positions and colleges need educators,” said Roz Hartman

Director of Health Sciences at COM. “The nursing faculty shortage is at a crisis level.” At COM, where there have been two vacant nursing faculty positions all year, the need for nurses with advanced training is acute. Here and across the country, a legion of experienced nursing educators is retiring.

COM accepts 46 nursing students annually into its two-year nursing degree program. Graduates are eligible for a licensing exam. If, however, they want to go on to get a bachelor’s or master’s degree, they are often stymied by varying curriculum requirements at the next level, accessibility, time constraints and limited financial resources.

The collaborative project aims to establish easier access and will investigate the possibility of concurrent enrollment without duplication of coursework. The goal is to have a seamless program in place so students will be able to go from community college to a master’s degree in a shorter amount of time.

The Foundation for California Community Colleges reported this year that 110,000 nurses will be needed between now and 2010. Dr. Joanne Spetz, associate professor in the School of Nursing at UC-San Francisco, predicted in 2006 that there will be a nursing shortage across the state by 2012. Without better solutions, we will see a shortage of nearly 40 percent of the RNs needed in the northernmost counties in California.

The nursing grant collaborative, which sets up Napa Valley College as the fiscal agent, includes COM, Solano Community College, Mendocino College, Santa Rosa Jr. College, Sonoma State University and Pacific Union College. Sonoma State University will have the major role in this project and Liz Close, SSU nursing program director, has been awarded a paid sabbatical to work on the project next spring. Area hospitals and regional health departments will also be called upon to expand clinical opportunities for students throughout the 8,000-square-mile service area.

“Now that we have funding to pay a coordinator to actually work on the meat of the project, it will allow us to speed this up and get moving,” Hartman said.



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