Accelerated Nursing Program

June 5, 2007
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720,

The Nursing Department at California State University, Bakersfield has launched an accelerated baccalaureate nursing program designed to produce nurses in 15 months.

"This program is unique in that it offers those with a non-nursing bachelor's degree an opportunity to enter the nursing field after completing an intensive and accelerated program of study," said Peggy Leapley, chair of CSUB's nursing department. "The program will provide our local community with graduates who can fill registered nursing positions. The aim of our new program is to educate through to the bachelor's of science degree in nursing a cohort of 44 people interested in becoming RNs."

The accelerated curriculum is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing. In this accelerated format, students are involved in an intensive full-time educational experience that does not allow for breaks between academic terms. As a result, after 15 months students will be eligible for the RN licensure exam. Students earn a bachelor of science in nursing and are eligible to take the national licensing examination. Completion of this same level of education through CSUB's traditional program would require 33 months.

Local health-care providers are involved with the new program through the Nursing Education Partnership, which includes three local hospitals and the County of Kern. The partners will provide funding for the accelerated baccalaureate program. The threes hospitals are Memorial Hospital, Mercy Hospital and San Joaquin Community Hospital. The County of Kern participants are Kern Medical Center, Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health.

Once a student is determined by CSUB Nursing Department to be eligible, students will be considered by the partners for sponsorship, additional funding for faculty salaries was awarded through a Song-Brown Registered Nursing Education grant. In addition to having a non-nursing baccalaureate degree, applicants must have successfully completed 12 prerequisite courses prior to Dec. 15.

"During 2006 the nursing faculty at CSUB carefully considered the need to expand our admissions to the nursing program, fiscal constraints, curriculum, and national trends in nursing education," Leapley said. "As another answer to meeting the critical need for nurses in the central valley, the nursing department developed the accelerated baccalaureate nursing program.

In response to the growing nursing shortage, the department has gradually increased the number of students admitted annually to the undergraduate program by 25 percent - from 60 to more than 80 students - over the past several years. However, unmet costs are associated with growth. The plan is to admit 60 students into the traditional program in September, and 44 students into the accelerated baccalaureate nursing program in January 2008. The traditional students will graduate in June 2010 and the accelerated students graduate in March 2009.

"We appreciate the support we received to continue expansion from our local Nursing Education Partners," Leapley said. "The CSUB Department of Nursing will continue to look for funding opportunities that address the goal of preparing more RNs for the citizens of Kern County and California."

For information about enrolling in the program, please call the nursing department at (661) 654-3103, or visit the department's website at