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California Assembly Approves Nursing Doctorate for the CSU

AB 867, legislation that allows the CSU to offer a doctorate of nursing practice, now goes to the State Senate

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(June 9, 2009) –The California Assembly overwhelmingly approved AB 867 on June 3, that authorizes the California State University to offer a doctorate degree program in nursing practice. AB 867 now goes to the State Senate.

The bill was drafted in response to a serious shortfall in nursing faculty, a problem that has led to nursing schools waitlisting or denying thousands of qualified applicants. The nation faces a shortage of up to one million nurses over the next decade. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, California’s share of that shortage will be more than 40,000 full-time-equivalent nurses.

“The nation’s largest public university is being put to work in helping to solve the state’s nursing shortage,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “Throughout the state, the CSU is already training nurses at the bachelor’s and master’s level. Our nursing faculty have doctoral degrees, clinical expertise, and strengths in teaching and curriculum development, that uniquely position the CSU to develop top quality campus programs to produce the nurse educators.”

CSU’s programs will provide an affordable DNP education and will prepare new faculty to teach in CSU and community college nursing programs, training new registered nurses that will help address the state’s nursing shortage.

CSU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree programs will be the only degrees of this kind offered by a public university in California. Currently there are only three universities in the state that offer the DNP, and all of them are private institutions.

“The health and often the lives of patients rest in the hands of well-trained nurses,” said Beatrice Yorker, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Los Angeles.  “The growing nursing shortage is a health crisis that if allowed to continue unchecked will affect the future quality of care provided throughout California.” 

The state’s institutions of higher education graduate 7,500 nurses annually. But to meet California's demand, the state will need to graduate at least 6,000 additional nurses for a total of 13,500 annually.

The CSU currently graduates 2,471 nurses at the master’s and bachelor’s level every year.  In fall 2007, the system had 4,271 undergraduate and 2,003 graduate students enrolled in nursing programs at 18 CSU campuses throughout the state. Many of these campuses are located in urban and rural areas of high need. 

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.