FAIRFIELD — Touro University California on Mare Island in August will open a nursing program that offers a master’s degree.
Officials with the Vallejo university came to Fairfield on Tuesday to make the announcement at the Solano County Events Center before an audience of local civic leaders. The School of Nursing during its initial year is to have 30 to 33 students who are registered nurses with lesser degrees.
Nurses with an associate degree can earn a master’s degree in 18 months. Nurses with a baccalaureate degree can earn a master’s degree in 12 months. The university is accepting applications.
The move comes at a time when the federal Affordable Care Act is reshaping the health care landscape. Shelley Berkley, senior provost of Touro College and University System ’s Western Division, voted for the act when she served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Berkley said Tuesday that 32 million more Americans will have access to primary health care. Nurses will be on the front line to bring health care to a needy population, she said.
Touro officials see advanced nursing degrees as being in increased demand. Touro University California Provost Marilyn Hopkins said some wonderful students with associate nursing degrees from Solano Community College struggle to find work, despite the strong program.
The School of Nursing program will be taught half online and half face to face. Hopkins sees the face-to-face component as important. Nurses are “people people,” she said, adding, “we like to interact, we like people.”
Vacaville resident Ann Stoltz will be the director for the nursing school. She worked as a county public health nurse and Vacaville School District nurse prior to becoming a faculty member at California State University, Sacramento in 2001.
“What we want to do is educate nurses in Solano County and the immediate region, so they stay in the region and help us with our health care needs,” Stoltz said.
University officials said Solano County and surrounding areas will need an estimated 7,000 registered nurses by 2018. This doesn’t included registered nurses that will be needed as replacements.
With the changes in health care, nursing leaders are needed, Stoltz said. She talked of the program developing “transformational leaders.”
Advanced nursing degrees are important to meet the demand for nursing faculty, clinical nurse leaders, nurse practitioners and researchers, she said.
Go to www.tu.edu for more information on the Touro University California School of Nursing.
Touro University California moved to Mare Island in 1999, about three years after Mare Island Naval Shipyard closed. Its campus includes such buildings as the Mare Island Base Hospital built in 1899, and former officer’s club.
Touro will be the only higher education institution physically located in Solano County to offer advanced nursing degrees, a university fact sheet said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.