The Renegade Rip

Program expands to train nurses for work in rural communities

Jessica Reed

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Bakersfield College has begun a new distance education nursing program to serve the central San Joaquin Valley.

BC will train nursing students to alleviate the nursing shortage, according to Cindy Collier, BC director of nursing.

The program is being funded by Kern Family Health Care, which gave $850,000; San Joaquin Valley Consortiums, which donated $400,000; and Sierra View Hospital and West Hills College Lemoore Campus, which put in $300,000, for a total of $1.55 million, she said.

The central San Joaquin Valley has 400 to 450 nurses per 100,000 people. It should have up to 507 per every 100,000 people, according to Collier.

The closed instructional-television course will be broadcast at the same time at the Delano Center, Porterville College and West Hills College.

Students will be able to talk back and forth with each other and instructors. Each class is taught by different instructors from the other colleges. Three cameras follow the teacher and record what they say, according to Collier.

For some colleges, there may be a delay because of the computer technology they are using.

For midterms and finals, tests will be e-mailed or faxed to the classes and then returned to the head teacher for recording.

The program was created to train nurses in the rural communities.

To complete, it will take two years once a student has completed all prerequisites.

A total of 30 students will be enrolled, with no more than 10 from each school, according to a BC news release.

Collier explained why California has a nursing shortage, “We are old!” she said. “Seriously. The average age of a nurse is 48 years old. Ten years ago, nursing schools started cutting back so there wasn’t enough new nurses coming in. Now that we’re retiring, there isn’t enough to take our place.”

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The news site of Bakersfield College
Program expands to train nurses for work in rural communities