Saturday, 25 May 2024

Pacific Union College and Adventist Health expand nursing program to Lake and Mendocino counties

Pacific Union College and Adventist Health have announced a new partnership to better serve rural communities in Central and Northern California, including in Lake and Mendocino counties.

This collaboration will further the college's goals of growing its nursing program and help meet the rising need for highly qualified healthcare professionals in these areas.

“Partnering with nursing schools is the best way for hospitals to ensure there is a pipeline for recruitment of nurses,” said PUC Department of Nursing Chair Kimberly Dunker. “Because of the long-standing history between our Adventist organizations, we are able to not only partner but share the same values and beliefs for nursing education and talent acquisition.”

The Associate of Science in Nursing, or ASN, program will be open to Adventist Health employees and community members in the local areas of Lake and Mendocino counties looking to move into the nursing field. Classes will begin in September.

Judson Howe, president of the North Coast Network for Adventist Health, said creating a local nursing workforce is one of the organization’s top priorities.

“The nursing program at Pacific Union College creates an additional avenue for our community members to receive a world-class registered nursing education,” Howe said. “Adventist Health North Coast Network will continue to support the excellent nursing programs across our counties, including Mendocino College and looks forward to expanding professional pathways for premier clinical education, allowing local rural healthcare to thrive.”

The California Board of Registered Nurses, or BRN, and the Education Licensing Committee, or ELC, approved the addition of 18 students to the Angwin campus with clinical partners in rural areas like Mendocino and Lake counties.

This hard-won achievement is the result of a two-year collaborative effort by PUC and Adventist Health to establish new nursing education centers in underserved areas. California will need the most nurses in the nation by 2030.

Still, nursing programs in the state typically find it challenging to receive permission to admit more students due to limited clinical space in hospitals. Sometimes, qualified students may wait up to three years for admission to nursing programs.

PUC has a sterling reputation as a well-established, high-quality nursing program — lauded by the state nursing board in its evaluation last spring. The program also boasts excellent NCLEX outcomes. Nursing professors from PUC’s Angwin campus will lead the program’s instruction. The program will also utilize the Adventist Health training facilities in the Adventist Health North Coast Network for most of the skills lab instruction. Sites in these counties include Clear Lake, Ukiah Valley, Howard Memorial (Willits), and Mendocino Coast (Fort Bragg).

PUC Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing & Communication Gene Edelbach also said the partnership has been rewarding. “It's been exciting to partner with Adventist Health over the last few years in developing new educational products that truly meet the needs of our underserved communities,” Edelbach said.

Jill Bartolomie, Patient Care Executive for Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, said this collaboration will be meaningful to both Adventist Health employees and students from the local community.

“The program will allow them to fulfill their dreams faster and get to working as an RN without continually delaying their education,” she said. “It allows them to work full time and continue to support themselves and their family while they are in school because this is a flexible, hybrid program.”

Prospective students for this program must meet the admission criteria outlined by the college and the nursing program. The criteria include completion of specific courses, GPA, and testing requirements. More information can be found on the website, puc.edu/nursing-requirements. Students will be expected to meet the criteria to ensure their access and completion of the program.

With the new program, there is a clear path from becoming a Medical Assistant (MA) to receiving a Master of Science in Nursing. For example, students can achieve their MA through programs offered at AH locations, their ASN at the Adventist Health sites in Lake and Mendocino counties and earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing through PUC’s online programs. This opportunity provides students with a robust educational experience while remaining close to their families and local communities.

Preferred pricing for Adventist Health employees will make the overall cost much less than a PUC on-campus program. Additionally, the admissions process will be individualized, with a dedicated personal advisor for each student.

In 2021, PUC embarked on a vision for the future, focusing on four main pillars—including the addition of online programs and education centers. The Angwin campus is the heart of PUC, while the vision plan states that education centers are the “arms and the legs that put us in motion in communities where we are most needed.”

To learn more about this new ASN program opportunity or apply, please visit https://www.puc.edu/adventist-health.

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