Kaiser teams with Samuel Merritt University to offer accelerated nursing program

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kaiser Permanente and Samuel Merritt University are partnering up to offer nurses the chance to obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Fresno.

On Oct. 15, Kaiser announced the program will be 20-months long and classes start in January 2020.

According to Kaiser, the five-semester program is structured for working nurses with online coursework and clinical rotations in community health agencies. It says nurses will learn about evidence-based care, broaden their community health training, and enhance their communication skills.

Samuel Merritt University developed the RN to BSN curriculum and Kaiser says it helped during the conceptual development of the program.

"Our nurses traditionally when they've wanted to attend Samuel Merritt have had to drive to the Bay Area and this way they get to stay here in Fresno," Karen Strauman Chief Nursing Executive at Kaiser Permanente Fresno.

Samuel Merritt University offers similar RN to BSN programs at its campuses in Oakland, Sacramento and the San Francisco Peninsula. The university is exploring additional nursing and health science degree programs that will meet the needs of the Fresno community.

"They really like staying in Fresno and we want them to stay here in Fresno," continued Strauman. "It also means good things for the community because we have our nurses out there working and learning and helping our communities thrive."

Geri Larson is a staff nurse starting the program in January. She's been hoping to go back for her bachelor's for 30 years, but the timing just hasn't been right.

"Our second daughter was 4 weeks old when I started the nursing program and by the time I graduated I had 4 kids, so getting into the workforce was important," said Larson.

Now three of her seven children are nurses and one of her daughters, Lindsey, is even heading back to school with her.

"Once they started talking about bringing that program here it was like OK you've got to do this because its here and affordable," continued Larson.

The deadline to apply for the RN to BSN program beginning in January is Nov. 1, 2019. The application deadline for the fall term is July 1, 2020. To apply, please visit www.samuelmerritt.edu/admission/apply-smu or contact SMU's Fresno-based admission counselor John Tiedemann at jtiedemann@samuelmerritt.edu.
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