The College of Graduate Nursing, striving to be a key factor in
addressing the state and national nursing shortage, plans to introduce a
new and innovative RN program in fall 2004.
The College of Graduate Nursing will begin a Master of Science in
Nursing Entry Level (MSN-E) program and Dean Karen Hanford is thrilled.
“”It’s an exciting time for nursing,”” says Hanford. “”There needs to
be a revitalization of nursing.””
The three-year program, which combines an RN license and a MSN
degree, is open to students with bachelor’s degrees in any field who have
an interest in nursing and have completed the required prerequisites.
Doing this allows the college to tap into a broad pool of students who
are academically proven, focused on their career goals and will enrich
the profession with their varied bases of knowledge. Additionally,
nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing will be recruited to enroll in
the college’s MSN program.
The goal of the program is to produce up to 40 registered nurses in
its first year and up to 50 in the years to follow. Hanford has secured
preliminary approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing
(BRN) to begin the program and will complete the BRN approval process
prior to enrolling the first cohort. Current college offerings are BRN
approved and nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate
The MSN-E program is tailored toward the working nurse. The first
four semesters will include campus-based instruction and clinical
training. The remaining two years will be completed through distance
learning and online courses. Students will be eligible to sit for the
national RN licensing exam after 15 months, enabling them to work as a
registered nurse and integrate the professional role as they complete
The program offers students two areas of focus: a Clinical
Leadership and Management track and a Family Nurse Practitioner track.
According to workforce data, Southern California has the highest
nurse vacancy rate in the United States and the nursing shortage has
reached crisis levels across the country. California faces a shortage of
25,000 registered nurses in the next five years and as many as 60,000 by
“”California is producing 10,000 nurses a year but 5,000 qualified
applicants were turned away from colleges and universities in 2002,””
Hanford says. “”While many schools of nursing are enrolling more students,
California simply needs more schools of nursing. This program will feed
the pipeline for nurses as well as nursing educators.””
Universities near Western University of Health Sciences do not offer
majors in nursing, therefore graduates of these universities will have a
new opportunity to become a professional nurse. With salaries increasing
and job opportunities limitless, nursing is becoming a more attractive
career option for many talented individuals.
To recruit a diverse pool of new registered nurses, the college has
partnered with three regional colleges and universities — University of
La Verne, the Claremont Colleges and Cal Poly Pomona — that serve large
numbers of undergraduates who are Latino, African American and Asian
Hanford says that through the program, the college will create the
professionals of the future and provide hospitals with nurses trained in
leadership and business management.
“”This will really infuse the profession, which has been attempting
to prepare more bachelor’s and master’s prepared nurses,”” she
says. “”We’re going to prepare professionals who will be adept at problem-
solving and multi-tasking.””
Looking to the future, Hanford says she has no doubt that the
college and WesternU can become a strong voice and leader in nursing
education in the Inland Empire.
“”Nursing is the backbone, the foundation of health care,”” she
says. “”A school of nursing that prepares registered nurses impacts a
community in so many positive ways. Historically, nurses complete their
education and seek employment in their home community. We’re hopeful that
our graduates will help to meet the health care needs of our citizens and
the workforce needs of our service partners.””