Concordia University Irvine expands nursing program as demand grows – Orange County Register

As demand for registered nurses grows in California and across the United States, at least one university in Orange County is expanding its nursing program.

Concordia University Irvine is growing its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, adding 24 student spaces to its fall and summer cohorts. The school got approval this summer from the Board of Registered Nursing. This is the second expansion for the nursing the school; the first expanded cohort of 64 students — up from 40 students — began classes Aug. 21.

The accelerated program is designed for people who already hold a bachelor’s degree. The program allows students to earn another bachelor’s degree in Science in Nursing, or BSN, in 11 to 18 months. Students in the CUI program are required to complete 765 hours in clinical settings and can complete the courses in as few as 15 months.

A survey in the fall of 2016 showed 89 percent of California hospitals reported at least moderate demand for registered nurses, according to UC San Francisco, a 48 percentage point increase compared with the fall of 2013.

The RN workforce is expected to grow to 3.2 million in 2024 from 2.7 million in 2014, an increase of 439,300 or 16 percent, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau also projects a need for 649,100 replacement nurses, bringing the total job openings for nurses to 1.09 million by 2024.

The nursing program expansion at Concordia also comes with the addition of staff and classroom space at the Park Place campus in Irvine. The school is adding full-time and adjunct clinical faculty, two new classrooms, another clinical skills and simulation lab and more conference rooms and office space.

“The ability to enroll more qualified applicants allows Concordia University Irvine to replenish the pool of exceptional nurses who are retiring and leaving the profession,” said Concordia University Irvine Assistant Dean and Director of the Nursing Program Cheryl Smythe-Padgham.

According to a report on 2016-2017 enrollment in nursing, U.S. schools turned away more than 64,000 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2016 because of budget limitations and an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, and clinical preceptors, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing said.

A total of 127 units are required for the BSN degree. Students are able to transfer a maximum of 75 units from a previous degree, including…

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