Uncertain future for Fresno State nursing students

FRESNO, Calif.

Ryan Laxamana is one of nearly two dozen students in the entry level masters degree program in the Department of Nursing at Fresno State.

"I'm actually from the bay area, and i'm married and my wife supports me," Laxamana said. "She's supporting me and my dream and we're going through a difficulty situation all of us."

A difficult situation - he says - because after he got his Bachelor of Science in nursing - he planned to work part time - while continuing his coursework to get his master's degree.

"The BSN is really important," Laxamana said. "It makes us more marketable, more competitive and it will differentiate us from community students."

But about three weeks ago - he and his classmates say - the college informed them they would no longer be eligible to get their BSN's.

Katie Casseday said, "I think they're afraid once we get the BSN, we'll leave and then not complete the masters coursework, but we all want to complete our master's."

And they're now worried - that could hurt their chances of finding a job.

"The issue is most hospitals will only hire you if you have a BSN," Casseday said. "It's so competitive right now, most hospitals only hire BSN nurses. And the hard part is we'll have our RN, but won't have an education to our title."

The situation is particularly tough for Laxamana. His first degree is in finance. Casseday's in public health. They're now wondering they're going to tell a potential employer when they're asked about their education in the field of nursing.

"It will look pretty strange to say I'm an RN, but I received my degree in public health," Casseday said. "They won't really see where we got our nursing education from."

"The whole reason I came to Fresno State was to get my BSN and my mater's degree," Laxamana said. "I could have gone to SF and it would have been done in two years with a master's."

Action News reached out to Fresno State early Friday morning. In a statement from spokesperson Tom Uribes said: "Dr. Cricket Bobarakzai, chair of the Dept. of Nursing, and Dr. Dennis Nef, associate vice president for academic affairs, have met with students who are in an accelerated Master of Science nursing program and are aware of their concerns. Dr. Nef said administrators are reviewing these concerns and how they can be addressed. Students were advised they would have a response by May 21."

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