Nursing at BC has its issues

Rhiannon Stroberg, Features Editor

Bakersfield College nursing students have been having issues getting into several of the courses required to complete the nursing program.

BC’s nursing program has several classes that are mandatory for nursing students to take in order for them to complete the program, however, due to the overwhelmingly high volume of students in the program, these students in particular have been having several issues getting into the necessary biology and chemistry classes needed.

BC nursing student Jennifer Edwards, 25, stated that she has been trying to get into Chem 11 for the past six semesters and that before she was finally able to get a spot in the Bio 32 class, she had been waiting four semesters.

“Without Chem 11, I am unable to get into the next class, Chem 16,” Edwards said, “ and without Bio 32, I am unable to move on to the next course, Bio 33.”

Edwards also stated that her attempt to get into both Chem 16 and Bio 33 for the fall semester was unsuccessful, “and that was with me trying to register for the classes on the second day of fall registration.”

Joe Saldivar, Biology Department chair, stated that a lot of the issues as to why it is hard to get into these highly demanded courses stem from budgetary constraints as well as a lack of faculty in that department.

Saldivar explained, “With our anatomy physiology classes, we use models and we have to use different supplies and equipment and unfortunately, those things can be expensive. For example, if we have a torso model, that’s $16,000. We also have a couple of heart models; those are a couple of thousand dollars, and we have 24 students in a class. We would love to have six models of hearts for four students. It’d be tough to have one heart model there and be like ‘all right, all 24 of you come up and take a look.’ That would be really tough.”

According to Saldivar, another reason why the high-demand classes are always filled up is because students who haven’t had success in passing the class the first time are trying to attempt these classes again. “That’s why faculty tries telling the students to pass the class the first time,” said Saldivar.

“Let’s assume that you were in biology 32,” Saldivar explained. “That’s the first semester of anatomy physiology class. You were taking the class and for whatever reason you withdrew or received a D or an F. Now you cannot reregister for the course until grades have been posted.”

Saldivar further explained by saying, “Let’s assume this semester’s grades will be posted on December 15. Well, registration for classes for the spring semester opens up in November. You would not get in. You would have to wait until registration opens up for the following summer semester or the fall semester.”

Another issue that Saldivar mentioned is what would happen in the event that a student didn’t pass the class a second time?

“If you take the class a second time and for whatever reason something happens and you either fail the class or withdraw again, the BC and state policy is that students get two opportunities to attempt the class,” Saldivar explained. “If you wanted to attempt the class a third time, you would have to come visit me so I could sign off on a paper that petitions for you to take the course again. Now once again in other classes, attempting the class a third time is possible, but it’s not that simple with these high-demand classes.”

The only problem, in regards to students getting the third opportunity, is that they don’t have the ability to register for the course until two weeks after open registration, which means other students have first priority.

“We have altered our curriculum so we could get more students in,” Saldivar mentioned. “Previously, our courses that were a two-semester course were four- and five-unit classes. We are now currently four and four, so we can now actually get more students in there.”

A bigger problem that Saldivar states that students have is not understanding that when their priority registration window opens up.

“When your window opens up at 12:01 a.m. on November 15, you get yourself on that computer and start registering for these classes as soon as possible,” Saldivar encouraged. “I understand in other classes, you could say, ‘Oh, I’ll get to it later,’ but two or three days in, these classes are full, including the waitlist.”

Saldivar also stated that because these are such high-demand classes, getting on the waitlist does not guarantee that you’ll get a spot in the class.

In regards to the lack of faculty in the biology department, Saldivar stated that every year, each department receives something called an annual program review that gives the departments an opportunity to submit a document to administration that explains and informs them about what is needed for the department.

“We have been very fortunate with our administration because whenever we have someone retire from our department, they [BC’s administration] have been very kind by replacing them,” Saldivar said. “However, we would like additional faculty, so I have been putting on that document that I think we can support and argue that we can really offer many more courses.”

Saldivar also said that he could guarantee that if he offered 10 more courses, such as Bio 32, Bio 33, and Bio 60 micro, they would fill up.

“I know that, I absolutely know that,” Saldivar stated. “It’s just the matter of can I make the argument and will the administration support my argument, but absolutely! We would love to offer more courses!”

Several issues involving hiring more faculty members would be the fact that the department is lacking funds due to the expensive models, supplies, and equipment needed for demonstration for the nursing program.

“The problem is that we would love to bring in more faculty so we can offer more courses,” mentioned Saldivar. “It’s just a matter of the number of faculty and having available funds for hiring faculty, more models, and simulated blood.”

When it comes to trying to be successful in the nursing department, Saldivar encourages students by saying, “The big key is if you’re in these classes, work hard, get extra help, and study your butt off because the last thing you would want to do is to fail the class and then have to somehow try to retake it. That’s where we see the bottle neck of students that are trying to retake it.”

Furthermore, Saldivar also tries to encourage students to register for their classes as soon as their open registration window opens and for them to also try and pass these classes the first time so they would not have to encounter this repetitive cycle of trying to find their way back into these classes.