“Tenacious... Devoted... Altruistic... If I had just three words to sum up the faculty, staff, and program that would be it,” said Christopher Baylis, president of the CSUSM Student Nurses Association and Spring 2009 graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Nursing.

This May, the first graduates from the Bachelor of Nursing program will receive their degrees. Founded in Fall 2006 with 44 students, today the School of Nursing has 550 students, including pre-nursing and the new entry-level baccalaureate program.

The story of the School of Nursing is one of success and partnership. The U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics ranks California 49th nationwide in the number of RNs per capita. Recognizing the need to educate more nurses, Cal State San Marcos and Palomar Pomerado Health (PPH) struck up a unique partnership. PPH, a health care system that includes two area hospitals, donated $2.5 million for the formation of the the School of Nursing now known as the Palomar Pomerado Health Education Center. The bulk of that money was used to build the teaching facility, which includes a state-of-the art, high-tech simulated hospital learning center. PPH also leases the teaching facility to the University for one dollar a year.

”It’s fantastic to see the plans formalize into graduates,” said Dr. Judy Papenhausen, director of the School of Nursing.

“We talk about this first class of cohorts as if they are our ‘firstborns’. It’s good to see closure on this first phase of the School.”

“I love to tell everyone I can how fortunate we are to have such a great School,” said Baylis, a former EMT and firefighter. Baylis decided to pursue his nursing degree after seeing the devastation from the Bali terrorist bombing first hand in 2005. “For me, nursing is an opportunity to make a difference and help people.”

Baylis plans to go into emergency and intensive care once he passes the board exam. He described one particularly cold and rainy day when he was performing a rotation in the Emergency Room at Tri City Medical Center that fueled his interest for emergency care. There were a large number of car accidents and the ER was packed with critically hurt patients. He said, “All the nursing students were helping with IVs, checking vital signs, undressing patients . . . it was a chaotic experience, but it gave me a taste for what it would be like.”

Heather Brean, also a member of the first graduating cohort, describes how after performing her externship in pediatrics, she knew she wanted to become a pediatric nurse, “I’m compelled to help young, sick kids. It makes you happy knowing that you’ve helped them.” She says she chose the CSUSM School of Nursing for its location – the only School of Nursing located in North County San Diego. Once she graduates, she plans on staying in the region.

“The School of Nursing prepares students for the best career – there is a whole world beneath the surface and so many opportunities,” says Baylis. “Plus, there’s nothing better than helping someone in need.” 

Kaiser Permanente Contributes an Additional $200,000 to School of Nursing 

Kaiser Permanente has provided an additional $200,000 for the CSUSM-Kaiser Permanente Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program. This is Kaiser’s second gift; in April 2008, the health care organization contributed $500,000 to establish the program. 

CSUSM nursing students will be eligible to apply for $5,000 per semester, up to a total of $20,000. The loan forgiveness program will mean that students who receive this loan will agree to work in an acute care Kaiser Permanente hospital facility for two years to retire the loan. 

“We are very grateful to Kaiser for their ongoing support of our nursing students. This additional scholarship money will ease the financial burden for an additional 10 students,” stated Papenhausen. 

$400,000 Public-Private Partnership Pilot Program Grants 

The School of Nursing has been awarded a pilot grant to expand nursing education under the Governor’s Task Force for the Nurse Education Initiative. The School of Nursing will receive $200,000 from the State of California with an additional $200,000 matching grant being contributed by the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare. In partnership with California State University Los Angeles (CSULA) and California State University Fullerton (CSUF), these funds will be used to create a regional simulation center to develop nursing faculty and hospital educators to utilize clinical simulation.

“The new center will provide much-needed medical training opportunities for nursing faculty of the counties of Orange, Riverside, and San Diego,” said Papenhausen. “We are excited about the collaboration and are looking forward to working together to make this a model program.”

The simulation centers will be located at the School of Nursing on the campus of CSUSM at Temecula at the Paul Goldring Garrett Institute for Higher Learning and on the campuses of CSULA and CSUF.

< Return to the Spring / Summer 2009 Article Index

School of Nursing Programs:

Generic/Basic BSN:
A three-year, full-time cohort program which leads to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

LVN to BSN:
A 3-year, part-time program which leads to a BSN for licensed vocational nurses (LVN).

RN to BSN:
A part-time program for California licensed registered nurses (RNs) which leads to a BSN, offered through Extended Learning.

Accelerated BSN:
An accelerated, 17-month BSN program designed for those who will have already completed a Bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing. Offered through Extended Learning.

Nurse Refresher Program:
Preparation of Clinical Nursing Faculty Certification

Founded in 2005, 320 enrolled students are currently enrolled in the generic, accelerated BSN, and the RN to BSN programs. This number excludes pre-nursing students. 120 nursing students graduate in May 2009