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Nursing School takes steps to address national nursing shortage


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August 28, 2002

Responding to the national nursing shortage with a strong dose of extra dollars, San Francisco State University is hiring three additional faculty members, allowing the impacted School of Nursing to boost its enrollment by 30 percent.

Two of the positions have already been filled. Both of the new hires, who begin teaching this week with the start of the fall semester, are practicing clinicians at local hospitals. A third position for a clinician/academic is expected to be filled in coming months. The newly-created positions bring the number of tenure-track faculty members and lecturers in the school to about 35.

Thanks to the new instructors who each will teach several classes, the number of students admitted into the bachelor's program this fall rose by more than 10 percent to 100 students. The number of students admitted this fall through the master's program (students who have a bachelor's degree in another field and who are pursuing a master's degree in nursing) jumped by more than 30 percent to 53 students.

In addition, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals donated money to the University to increase the number of registered nurses who return to school and pursue a bachelor's or master's degree. This fall about 35 registered nurses -- more than double the number from last year -- will take classes through that program.

"San Francisco State University is doing its part to address the nursing shortage and faculty members are working incredibly hard to handle this significant increase in the clinical settings, labs and classes," said Beatrice Yorker, director of the School of Nursing.

The nursing shortage felt at a local, statewide and national level has been caused by an aging Baby Boomer population, hospital mergers, cost-cutting, heavier workloads and sicker hospital patients than in previous years. In addition, retirements by an aging work force exacerbate the problem.

More than 126,000 nursing positions or 12 percent of the total number of available positions are vacant today, according to a recent report by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, a national organization that accredits hospitals. As a group, only 12 percent of registered nurses are younger than 30 and many more people are leaving the profession rather than entering it.

San Francisco State University is a leader in the Bay Area in training nurses for hospitals and medical centers. Students engage in clinical courses in more than 50 local hospitals and innovative community service programs. Nearly all nursing graduates have jobs at the time of graduation and many job offers are made during clinical placements at the end of the program.

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Last modified August 28, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs