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Vol 56 No. 9 | August 2004
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CSULB, VALBHS Announce $1.3 Million Partnership to Address Nursing Shortage

Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare System (VALBHS) and CSULB announced a $1.3 million partnership to provide individuals with baccalaureate degrees in science-related professions the opportunity to receive a baccalaureate degree in nursing through an innovative new program, one of the first of its kind in the nation.

The Accelerated BSN Program curriculum is a concentrated 60-week program with didactic courses offered by the CSULB Department of Nursing and clinical experiences provided predominately at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

"We are delighted that we are able to partner with our colleagues at CSULB to create this important program that will significantly and positively address the growing nursing shortage in California. I am hopeful that our collaboration will serve as a model for other communities as they address nurse shortage issues," said Ron Norby, director of VA Long Beach Healthcare System.

California ranks as the second worst state in the nation in terms of the nursing shortage and has the fewest registered nurses per 100,000 population in the United States, with 566 as compared to the national average of 798.

"For everyone concerned, we believe this partnership is a win-win," said CSULB President Robert C. Maxson. "Patients will especially benefit, and the VA and the university are very enthusiastic about how our collaboration will advance nursing education in the Long Beach area."

Thirty-six students will begin the Accelerated BSN Program at CSULB and VA beginning this fall. The partnership funding will cover most of the expenses for instruction and hiring additional faculty. The VA will provide classroom space whenever possible, and with the exception of pediatrics and women's health care, students will obtain their clinical experience at the VALBHS.

The program is aimed at educating second-degree students who already hold a bachelor's degree in another field, helping them to become BSN-prepared registered nurses (BSN-RN) in just over a year.

"These are individuals who want to have a more stable profession, career mobility and security of life-long employment," said Loucine Huckabay, director of the CSULB Nursing Department. "A one-year investment of their lives and enrolling in this Accelerated BSN Program will guarantee a more secure and gratifying professional career in health care."

Currently, Cal State Long Beach has more than 900 students enrolled in pre-nursing, RN/BSN and graduate nursing programs, a number that is expected to increase to 1,400 within five years.

The VA Long Beach Healthcare System is one of the most diversified tertiary health care providers in the nation. Comprehensive health care is provided through primary, specialty and long-term care services in the areas of medicine, surgery, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, oncology, dentistry, spinal cord injury, geriatrics and extended care.

The facility serves approximately 40,000 veterans in the Long Beach area at the Long Beach VA Medical Center and its community-based outpatient clinics located in southern Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The funding for the new program was provided by the VALBHS, with a generous contribution from the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network, the regional VA healthcare office serving Southern California and Nevada.

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