HSU and CR Exploring New Nursing Program

Feb 08, 2017
Humboldt State University is exploring a partnership with College of the Redwoods to create a RN-to-BSN (Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program.

The program would be offered on the CR campus. Currently, CR graduates up to 55 RN students each year. If successful, the schools would offer a program to help nurses living in the community continue their education.

Preliminary conversations have taken place between HSU and CR, and a proposal was submitted to the California State University Board of Trustees to indicate both institutions’ interest in proceeding. CSU approval is required before a program can be developed.

"I am very excited to be able to collaborate with HSU to discuss creating a strong, seamless, and integrated pathway to progress from CR's associate degree in nursing to a bachelor’s degree of nursing,” said Keith Snow-Flamer, Interim President of College of the Redwoods. “CR's historically strong relationship with HSU has always been a source of pride for us, and a potential nursing partnership takes it to another stage. Clearly, creating a pathway for nursing students to advance their education will enhance the delivery of healthcare in Humboldt County."

“I strongly believe every nurse should have the opportunity to pursue academic career goals, and every community deserves the best healthcare possible,” said Alison Pritchard, Director of Nursing & Health Occupations at College of the Redwoods.

Interest in such a program was spurred by multiple discussions among the Presidents of CR and HSU, regional healthcare leaders, and State Senator Mike McGuire. The healthcare leaders shared that their top priority was a local RN-to-BSN option, and they indicated they were willing to help support it. University officials have stressed that any new program would need to be sustainable, with significant and ongoing financial support.

CR and HSU will be working closely with community partners to develop a proposed curriculum and other details. If the effort is successful, classes could begin Fall 2018. HSU discontinued its BSN program in 2011, due to cost and challenges recruiting qualified faculty.

David O’Brien, President of St. Joseph Health-Humboldt County, is one of many who has voiced support for the idea. “St. Joseph Health applauds the efforts of HSU and CR to come together to explore the creation of a RN-to-BSN option in Humboldt,” he said.

One goal of the RN-to-BSN program would be to improve career opportunities for licensed nurses, while also helping meet the region’s workforce needs. As initially envisioned, it would allow licensed nurses to continue their education in a seamless curriculum, and students would have the option of continuing to work. As many as 30 students could enroll per year.

“We are pleased to be working with CR to create a possible RN-to-BSN option locally,” said HSU President Lisa Rossbacher. “Our regional healthcare leaders have emphasized the importance of finding local solutions to our nursing shortage. To address this, ongoing support from the community will be needed.”

Local demand for nurses with a BSN is growing, according to healthcare leaders. Estimates from California’s Employment Development Department indicate that the region will need an additional 48 registered nurses a year for the next 10 years.

“Nursing is becoming more and more complex, and many organizations are recommending or requiring a BSN,” said Joe Rogers, Executive Director of Hospice of Humboldt. “We are ecstatic that CR and HSU are exploring this new program.”

HSU Provost Alexander Enyedi believes the idea of a CR-HSU program has strong potential. “We know there is a shortage of nurses in our community, and if we can develop a workable program, it will improve access to health care for everyone,” he said.