Pacific launches new nursing program available to those without health care background

Pacific launches its first nursing program.

Pacific launches its first nursing program, an accelerated graduate nursing degree program for people with a bachelor’s degree in any field.

University of the Pacific today launched its first nursing program available to those with—and without—a health care background.

The innovative two-year Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing program is an accelerated graduate nursing degree program for people with a bachelor’s degree in any field. 

“You can be a biology major, music, doesn't really matter. You don't have to have a nursing background,” said Nicoleta Bugnariu, founding dean of Pacific’s School of Health Sciences

The program is designed to overcome a regional and statewide nursing shortage. According to a recent report by the UCSF Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care, there’s a current shortage of 40,567 registered nurses in the state.  

“Pacific is committed to expanding opportunities for students in health care fields and the timing of the start of our nursing master’s program is crucial,” Pacific President Christopher Callahan said. “Many areas are underserved and the shortage of nurses during the pandemic was a serious issue. We will move forward aggressively with this nursing program and we are committed to having our students serve the community while they are learning.” 

Added Rae Gamboni Charos, an advisory board member for the nursing program, “People I’ve talked to that want to go into nursing that are in a different career are very enthusiastic about having this type of program, especially being offered locally.” 

Located on Pacific’s campus in Sacramento, the program will accommodate 40 new nursing students twice each year for 80 total annually. Students will have clinical rotations in Stockton and across the Central Valley.

Upon graduation from the two-year program, nursing students will have:

  • A master’s degree.
  • Preparation for licensure as a registered nurse (RN).
  • A public health certificate, which gives students a larger picture of the health care field. 

“Previous data show that those students are better positioned to advance in their careers in terms of leadership in nursing,” Bugnariu said.  

According to a survey released in October by the American Nurses Foundation, 50% of respondents were considering leaving their nursing positions, citing mental health, staffing and organizational issues. 

It’s something Pacific plans to address as part of its training. 

“How do we ensure that our graduates know how to take care of themselves in order to have long, sustainable fulfilling careers?” Bugnariu said. “That is definitely something that we want to equip them with.”

In addition to course work, the program will have a community-driven focus with clinical rotations taking place in the Central Valley, with a goal of returning highly-qualified professionals to serve the community.

The curriculum will include a diabetes management concentration—crucial since 60% of Stockton residents have diabetes or pre-diabetes. The Abbott Fund, the foundation for global health care company Abbott, will provide scholarships to some qualified nursing students. 

For more on the new nursing program click here.