Following much deliberation and consultation, Hartnell College has decided to delay the entry of the fall 2004 Registered Nursing (RN) class until fall 2005.
Hartnell College President Edward J. Valeau said, "After thoughtful consideration and discussions with the faculty and staff, we have decided to delay the entry of the fall 2004 RN class. At this time, there are simply insufficient faculty to teach the classes. Of course, we want the best possible instructors and the best possible curriculum for our students. I believe this is the most appropriate step to secure the future of our program. We regret that we must delay the program, but this will allow us sufficient time to ensure the continuance of a high quality program to benefit our students and our community."
The RN program currently lacks the appropriate faculty to implement a comprehensive program, according to Valeau. The state of California requires that a college employ nursing faculty who are experts in several nursing fields. It also requires that a college have appropriate ratios of full-time to part-time faculty.
Hartnell presently has openings for five nursing instructors. Currently there is a nationwide shortage of qualified nursing faculty.
Sallie Savage, Hartnell's director of human resources, added that it is always difficult to recruit and retain nursing faculty. "In the United States and Canada, the shortage of nurses is severe and this impacts the college's ability to recruit successfully. It is important to know that nursing faculty must have a master's degree in nursing and meet a strict set of nursing qualifications." According to Savage, hospitals and other institutions offer more incentives and better pay to attract the most qualified medical personnel.
Deborah Denham, Hartnell's director of nursing, explained that the state of California also requires on-going training for faculty. "Over the next few months, we will recruit faculty, implement training, and develop curriculum. We will also create appropriate materials, including skills laboratory demonstrations," she said.
Denham added that while there are many challenges facing the nursing program, "we are confident that the steps we are taking will enable Hartnell to build a registered nursing program that is second to none."
Victor Krimsley, Hartnell's vice president of instruction, said the current RN class, which entered in fall 2003, will continue their coursework and prepare to receive their Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees in June 2005. In addition, the college will admit 30 students to the Licensed Vocational Nursing program, Hartnell's other nursing program.
"While we regret the delay in admitting RN students, we will make some special accommodations for those students. We will assist them with guaranteed admission for fall 2005, funding for tuition for the 2005-2006 academic year and financial aid advisement," he said.
Krimsley stressed the positive outcomes of the delay, including fully qualified faculty and staff trained and dedicated to the program and to the students; a fully implemented curriculum; enhanced continuity and consistency across the curriculum; and elimination of compliance issues."
Questions regarding Hartnell's nursing program should be addressed to Victor Krimsley at (831) 755-6717 or Deborah Denham at (831) 770-6145.