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NORTHRIDGE : CSUN to Offer 4-Year Nursing Program

April 24, 1993|JILL LEOVY

A long-awaited bachelor's in nursing program at Cal State Northridge finally has the funds to start classes next fall, and none too soon for Eileen Vrbanac, who first registered for the program more than a year ago.

"I was wondering when it was going to happen," said Vrbanac, 38, a mother and part-time nurse who has been registering for preparatory classes semester after semester to keep her name on the waiting list for the four-year degree program.

Budget cuts pushed the start date for the nursing program back two years. And in its final form, the program will admit only 30 part-time students, half the number first proposed back in 1991, said Mary Tedrow, director of the program and for now, its only tenure-track instructor. Tedrow said the school has received at least three times as many applications as there are spaces.

Still, Tedrow said she is delighted that a start date has been set, adding there is a critical shortage of nurses with four-year degrees in the Valley.

In the end, the estimated $500,000 to begin the program was assembled largely from non-government sources. Local hospitals--notably Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, which provided the first $182,000 start-up grant--made most of the contributions, said Heidi Nickerson Levy, development director for CSUN's school of Communications, Health and Human Services. Northridge Hospital Medical Center is even providing classrooms for first-semester courses, said Tedrow.

Pamela Spencer, spokeswoman for Kaiser, said a shortage of nurses with bachelor's degrees was one reason for the hospital's gift.

Tedrow said about 75% of nurses in California have two-year degrees.

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